Adam-Zak-Lean-Executive-Recruiter“Lean is much more than a concept or a set of improvement tools. It’s a business management system, and an ongoing corporate culture built from the top, down. With the right leadership, companies can realize monumental, sustained gains in growth, profitability and market share.

My Work

I help CEOs and their top HR leaders recruit the best Lean executives in America to their organizations. I do this at the President and COO level and for other senior operations, supply chain and continuous improvement (OpEx) Lean executive roles. And from time to time, I’ll work with a Board to snag a new Lean-thinking CEO as well.

I’m Adam Zak, the Lean Executive Recruiter.  For the last 20+ years I’ve been helping companies recruit truly exceptional Lean leaders. Clients include small entrepreneurial companies (think: “Lean Start-Up”), mid-market and privately held organizations, private equity portfolio companies, and many of the Fortune 500.

I focus on recruiting the uniquely talented, hands-on leaders you’ll need in operations, supply chain & continuous improvement.  The key individuals who play a critical role in creating and building a culture of excellence in your organization, based on Lean (Toyota Production System) principles. The exceptional people who can drive continuous improvement and strengthen your company’s ability to execute more effectively across the whole enterprise.

Titles and labels are often confusing. But whether you call it Lean, OpEx, Continuous Improvement, Lean Six Sigma or, well, you get the picture, I know how to help you identify, evaluate and attract exactly the right person for your organization.

During the last 24 months alone I’ve recruited people into roles as diverse as President to Plant Manager, VP Supply Chain to VP Strategy, Director Lean Six Sigma to VP Lean Operational Excellence, and more.  Each was a leader who could size up the current state, create and communicate a future vision, align resources with objectives, and then execute to deliver successful outcomes.

My Story

I’m the founder and CEO of Adam Zak Executive Search, previously known as Adams & Associates International, and still the full legal name of my firm.  I’ve been doing executive search work as my profession since 1990, primarily in North America, but also at various times and even for some extended periods, in Europe, Japan and China.

I know the word “passion” gets a lot of use in the management and leadership texts these days, but it’s a pretty good adverb to describe the way I go about doing what I do.  I get excited about each new executive search, each new challenge to make an impact on my client’s company.  The CEOs and senior HR executives with whom I work value my hands-on, collaborative approach, at every stage of the executive recruiting project, and the results I deliver.   And I appreciate the loyalty they’ve demonstrated over the years with repeat engagements and fantastic referrals to friends and colleagues.

Prior to launching Adam Zak Executive Search,  I developed my executive recruiting expertise with a couple of the big firms in Chicago, San Francisco and New York. Early on, having earned my accounting degree at the University of Illinois and becoming a CPA, I had started my career with KPMG Peat Marwick. Subsequently I moved up the leadership ranks with a number of  manufacturing and financial services companies in accounting and finance, operations, and general management roles.  I also spent some time at a Silicon Valley venture capital firm where I got a close-up view into some of the great start-ups of the 1980s.

I enjoy speaking at conferences as well as in more intimate settings on topics that spark my interest such as international business management, manufacturing technology and executive leadership. I write too, though have not kept up with the blog I started a couple of years ago  - just seems I’ve been too busy doing great search work.

I wrote my first book in collaboration with an awesome Lean Thinker in his own right, Bill Waddell.  Simple Excellence: Organizing & Aligning the Management Team in a Lean Transformation, was published in November, 2010, by CRC Press/Productivity Publishing.  Perhaps needless to say, but I recommend this book for everyone!

When I’m not chasing after the perfect candidate for your executive search I try to be as active as possible in a few professional organizations including the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME), Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), Executives Club of Chicago, Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP).

I live in the Chicago suburban area about 40 minutes northwest of O’Hare Airport but I do my work wherever in the world it makes sense for me to be.

I would be delighted to talk with you about how I can help you improve what happens in your business  – by helping you recruit exactly the perfect executive you have in mind. So call me.  Adam Zak  +1 847.304.5300