26 May 2022

The United States of America is the world’s largest economy, the world’s biggest importer of goods and services, and the world’s largest consumer market with 331 million people. It’s also home to Bernardo Entschev, AIMS International’s president, US Managing Partner, and deputy head of its Life Sciences global practice.

Göran Arvidson of AIMS International Sweden recently caught up with Bernardo for an in-depth Q&A. 

Tell us a little bit about you and the team in the United States.

I was a physician and I worked as a surgeon for 14 years. Motivated by my family (and the fact that we were blessed by triplets!) and searching for a better balance in quality of life, I became an entrepreneur in human capital services. I started as a headhunter in Brazil, where I grew our company six times and expanded to five regional offices. Then, I moved to the United States and ended up developing the whole operation there, with offices in New Jersey / New York City and Miami. My deepest experience is in the life sciences segment, but I also work intensively in consumer goods, industrial, IT and telecom. 

Stefano Vetralla is at the Miami office. He is Italian and immigrated to the United States seven years ago. He was a senior HR executive at many large companies, like HP and Kemet Electronics. He is experienced in consumer goods and industrial telecoms segments.

Richard Schnaittacher is American, and he’s in New Jersey / New York City. He is a senior former executive from the life sciences and consumer goods segments. He also has a lot of international experience and lived abroad in countries like China and Israel.

In what areas do you see the highest demand for executive search and talent management services in the United States?

After the Covid-19 crisis, leaders with new skills (virtual sales, virtual engagement, among others) are in high demand. We have high demand in technical sales, especially related to engineering and also in IT transformation. In board services and talent management, we see a huge interest in leadership development programs.

What kind of clients and positions do you work with?

We support all segments, but the majority of our clients are in five industries: industrial (chemicals, automation, machinery, packaging), life sciences (pharma, animal health, CRO, medical devices), consumer (beverages and food production), automotive and IT and telecom (fintech, software, hardware, mobile signal management / transmission towers).

It’s been a strategy of yours to work with cross-border business, both when working from the United States and in Brazil. How has that developed over time? (I guess being in Miami is a good position for someone speaking both English, Portuguese and Spanish).

Miami is a great location for the LATAM region, but the majority of our clients are in the United States, so, in that regard, we mostly serve US business’ needs in that region. Our Brazilian colleagues have a lot of success helping international companies across LATAM from within LATAM.

We help companies all over the United States, but most are up north (New York, New Jersey, Illinois, North Carolina). In those states, headhunting is a consolidated practice. In Florida, you still have this attitude that headhunting is too expensive, and they try to avoid using it as much as possible. This is changing fast, however, because the market in Florida has been receiving a lot of executives migrating from further north. 

From our two offices in the United States, we help companies from China and Europe to find candidates from all over the USA and sometimes Canada.

How specifically do you handle international assignments?

We always agree with the local partner on every major milestone (evolution reports, candidate reports, formats, content, communication with the client) and we follow what was agreed. The same when we generate new business. It works well and makes the client comfortable, since the process is the same in all countries. We have to be cautious of time zones, even within the United States and adjust our hours to meet our clients needs.

Do you have any advice for non-American companies who want to enter the US market?

Yes I do. I always recommend hiring a local executive that knows the regional business practice, the market, administrative issues, taxes, and so forth. We still see many companies sending someone from their home country to set up shop. Unless you back them up with locally hired executives or if your existing people have prior experience in the United States, that could be a mistake. It takes time to learn the country etiquette for business and this always helps a lot, having somebody local in the team.

Read more about Bernardo Entschev here.

About the Author:

Göran Arvidson

Senior Partner
Deputy Head – Media & Technology
Practice Member – Consumer
Göran Arvidson

Göran has been active as an Executive Search consultant since 2012 and has had the privilege to help clients in different industries with leadership and specialist assignments. Since 2013 he has worked in an international context. Göran works on assignments at mainly top and middle management levels and in various specialist roles, with extra focus on IT, FMCG/Consumer and Life Science.