Ovell Barbee is a highly accomplished, visionary Human Resources Executive who has been a client, a subject matter expert, and a friend of our firm for over 20 years.

He has a Masters of Human Resources from Michigan State University and has been recognized as a Top-50 HR Professional, Top-100 Chief Diversity Officer and Most Influential Minority.

We wanted to offer our congratulations on the successful publication of his first book, The Big House: A Human-Centered & Progressive Approach to DEI and Positive Workforce Engagement. It became a #1 Amazon bestseller of new releases.

When we asked Ovell about the impetus behind writing this book, he said, "Most companies invest money, time and energy in diversity equity and inclusion without creating and cultivating a human-centered environment.

"This How To book delivers essential advice to company leaders on how to stop the silence, have difficult conversations addressing race and diversity and learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable to achieve an environment where everyone can flourish."

We know that many companies fail when trying to create and cultivate an environment that truly embraces diversity and its benefits .

A warm welcome to Maarten van de Sande who will be leading our new Friisberg office in Amsterdam.

As of September 1, 2023, Friisberg & Partners International is also present in the Netherlands. With the opening of an office in Amsterdam, we are taking the next step in our international expansion.

Maarten van de Sande will lead our Dutch office. With almost 20 years of experience in recruitment, headhunting and executive search for both multinationals and local companies, his style of working is characterized by a high degree of involvement with both clients and candidates and an in-depth knowledge of the markets in which he operates. Maarten studied Finance & Business Administration at Nyenrode University, and followed several Master courses on HR and Strategy; he speaks four languages including Danish and German.

Maarten is trained as an accountant and started his career at KPMG in the general audit practice. Afterwards he had a number of management roles, including at the German Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, where he was Managing Director for two small Dutch entities for seven years. At that time he started his own recruitment agency, which he and a partner developed into a medium-sized player on the Dutch market.

After the sale of this agency at the end of 2019, Maarten shifted his focus towards specialist Headhunting and Executive Search assignments, mainly for medium-sized companies, often international and many of them family-owned. Together with his team of experienced researchers, Maarten guaranteed high quality service and the best solution. Joining Friisberg & Partners was therefore a logical step for Maarten to serve both his existing and new clients even better in their ambitions to attract the best local and international candidates.

Zoltan Petho, Chair of Friisberg & Partners International, gave a warm welcome to Maarten:

“It has been never easy to expand and find a new Partner in a new geographical location. Especially when it is a mature market, like The Netherlands. Friisberg is not only looking for a professional with proven track record in Executive Search or Management Consulting but also someone who is a great fit for the Friisberg family and shares our values from the very beginning. Maarten is very honest when describing his experience and ambition, and understands the business, which was clear after the very first talk we had - he never hesitates to ask questions showing his ability to be open and learn new things. Maarten has also a sparkling personality and a great sense of humour….and our common Danish background was just the icing on the cake! Welcome to Friisberg, dear Maarten!”

Maarten added:

“When I first met my new colleagues, during the conference in Budapest earlier this year, I became acquainted with the characteristic Friisberg culture: friendly, collaborative, entrepreneurial and ambitious. It fits like a glove!”

Last week Friisberg & Partners International was privileged to be invited to participate in the Ukraine Recovery Conference 2023 (URC23) in London from 21st – 23rd June. It is an annual global conference and was this year organized and hosted by the governments of the United Kingdom and, of course, Ukraine. URC23 brought together a coalition of thousands of representatives from civil society, businesses and governments from 59 countries to discuss and commit to support for Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction.

Elena Maysyura, who leads our office in Kyiv, was joined by Lorri Lowe and Andrew Guy from our office in London. Speakers at the conference included Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, his Ukrainian counterpart, Denys Shmyhal, as well as President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen (who confirmed that Ukraine’s accession to the EU is imminent), US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, foreign ministers of EU countries, and others.

We know that Ukraine has significant economic potential. The international community came together at the conference to unlock the potential of the private sector to help Ukraine’s economic recovery. This, in turn, will support the country to come back stronger, as a modern, stable and resilient democracy.

"By building Ukraine, we are building much more than one country, we are building the world.

"Will it be peaceful? Will it be stable? Will it be democratic? It depends on each and every one of us."

President Zelenskyy (video remarks)

The focus of day three of this year’s conference was to advance private sector participation in the Ukrainian recovery and for this URC23 was hailed a great success, with one of the largest international financial commitments for reconstruction since the Second World War. By the end of the event, a total of some US$60 billion in international commitments had been made.

It was noteworthy that a recurring theme at URC2023 was the strength of human capital already in Ukraine and the willingness of the Ukrainian diaspora to rebuild the economy back home - not just after the war, but now.

With our office in Kyiv and many more in other cities in Europe and around the world, Friisberg & Partners International is ideally placed to identify and secure the right leadership for Ukraine's revived businesses and FDI projects.

Friisberg stands with Elena, her team in Kyiv, and her country - we remain united in our support for Ukraine.

We are delighted to welcome Philip Glenister as a Business Development Consultant with our London office.

Philip provides a breadth of insight and advice in Business Development.

With close to 30 years of experience with international board, C-level and leadership teams, Philip has worked with senior executives as a trusted voice coach and communications' advisor. He has advised national and global organizations of all sizes, including publicly listed corporations, family-owned businesses and the public sector.

As a Consultant with Duchenoy Immobilier and previously with Kretz Family Real Estate, he has worked for leading property companies and has extensive knowledge of Real Estate.

Bilingual in English and French (residing in France for 20 years), and with a working knowledge of Italian and German, he studied Law at Cambridge University, then Voice, Theatre and Opera at the Royal College of Music London.

Based in France, he has performed as soloist at venues such as Tokyo Opera, Kobe Opera, English National Opera, La Scala Milan, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris and Theâtre des Amandiers, Nanterre. He has been involved in the production of hundreds of commercial and film recordings, including two Oscar nominated movies.

Throughout his performing career, he has also been in great demand as singing teacher, voice coach and vocal consultant, helping professionals from the worlds of opera, theatre & film and also business professionals to develop communication, performing and public speaking skills. Individual clients have included management teams, lawyers and consultants from companies such as Freshfields, Latham & Watkins, Ernst & Young, Dassault, BNP Paribas, Euronext and OECD.

Zoltan Petho, Chair of Friisberg & Partners International, also extended his welcome, “We are delighted to welcome Philip to our London team and his immense and impressive experience will be a huge asset to Friisberg globally.".

Philip is thrilled to be joining Friisberg & Partners International in these exciting times and is looking forward to becoming part of  our global team.

We are delighted to announce that Friisberg & Partners International now has offices in the United Arab Emirates

Patrick Duffy will be our new Managing Partner for the UAE.

In the United Arab Emirates since 2021, Patrick will be based in our offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The practices will offer Management Consulting services and Executive Search and a key feature of Patrick’s value is in advisory and consulting for organisation design, strategic alignment and leadership group development. He has over 25 years' leadership and management experience across numerous sectors including leisure, retail, NGO, public sector, culture, tourism, aviation and asset management. He has operated to senior executive and board positions with a strong focus on organisational capability, development and adaptive strategy.

Patrick’s leadership career in private enterprise and public institutions includes extensive experience connecting strategy with organisation design and leadership group development. Latterly, he has also trained and studied as a Management Researcher (doctoral thesis), specializing in organisation design and psychology. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics (Politics), Cardiff University, Wales (MBA), Leicester University (MA) and Bangor University Wales (MSc).

Zoltan Petho, Chair of Friisberg & Partners International, extended his welcome, “We were all delighted to meet Patrick at our recent conference in Copenhagen and it is fantastic that he is running our Friisberg offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. His immense and impressive experience will be a huge asset to Friisberg globally.”.

Patrick is thrilled to be joining Friisberg & Partners International in these exciting times and is looking forward to working closely with the firm’s clients across the globe.

Friisberg & Partners International believes Ukraine should remain an independent sovereign nation, and we wanted to offer more than just words in support of the people of Ukraine at this time of conflict and crisis.

We are pleased to announce that Friisberg & Partners International now has an office in Kyiv.

Friisberg has specialised in cross-border co-operation in Executive Search since 1977. Our Partners and Consultants all share a strong desire to combine our skills, resources and networks and to share our expertise in support of an economically sustainable and inclusive future for Ukraine.

Ukraine has some significant economic advantages: its well-educated people, its large domestic market, its natural resources - including some of Europe’s very best agricultural land - and its location on major trading routes over land and sea. Despite the war, Ukrainian economic activity continues, and in time will recover fully.

Elena Maysyura is currently the Head of Organisational Activity Unit for the Presidential Office of Ukraine, and is now our new Kyiv Partner.

Elena and her team already works extensively within Ukraine’s senior executive community, and it is our hope and intention that when international businesses decide to invest in Ukraine, they will choose Friisberg as the Executive Search firm best placed to both understand multinational business and identify talented Ukrainian leaders for their investments.

Having graduated from the TACIS Program of the HR Management Faculty at Kyiv National University, Elena now has twenty-eight years of practical experience in the HR sphere and nineteen years in executive search, with a particular focus on cross-border search assignments for international companies with a interests in Ukraine and the CIS.

Under Elena’s supervision and with her direct involvement, a leading Ukrainian law firm successfully underwent the international HR audit and certification process, and became the first Ukrainian Company and the first Law Firm in the CIS to be awarded “Investors in People”. She has also successfully completed a practical course on the Lean Six Sigma methodology and received a certificate from The European Black Belt Institute and writes extensively on HR strategies and policies.

Our new Kyiv office already counts several of Ukraine’s leading brands among its clients, including: Teva, Sandoz, PwC, AC Nielsen, Elementum Energy, VR Capital, MSD, Organon, DHL Express, DHL Global Forwarding, Glass Troesch, DTEK, D.Trading, BASF, Hilti, DCH, and Dr.Reddy’s.

Zoltan Petho, Chair of Friisberg said, “With a Kyiv office, we are able to offer real and meaningful support to Ukraine. We acknowledge that these are turbulent times, but we can also see the opportunities, and our new office is an expression of our determination and willingness to enable international companies that want to invest, establish a presence, and succeed in Ukraine. Whatever the circumstances, we are fully committed to extending the reach and ability of our clients to attract the best talent.”

We are delighted to welcome Sabine Pirkner leading our new office in Vienna. 

With close to 20 years of experience in international board, C-level and leadership team assessment and development, Sabine has worked with senior executives as a trusted coach and advisor. She has partnered with national and global organizations of all sizes, including publicly listed corporations, family-owned businesses and the public sector.

Sabine provides a breadth of insight and advice in talent management, CEO succession planning and executive development, leading advisory projects on cultural or organizational topics, as well as development audits, assessments for mergers, and executive search mandates. By supporting digital transformation processes, Sabine also helps drive comprehensive change initiatives, organizational design, people development and cultural audits.

Sabine was with a leading international executive search firm for five years, as a Senior Principal in Germany and Head of Leadership & Talent Consulting for Austria and worked more recently for Russell Reynolds in Germany. She also co-founded her own boutique management firm and has worked for leading multinationals, including Accenture and Aon Hewitt.

She holds a BA in human resource management from the University of Salzburg and a Master’s degree in organizational and economic psychology from the University of Vienna. She has also completed certifications in labour law and executive leadership for global organizations and is a licensed trainer and coach. Sabine speaks fluent English and German.

Zoltan Petho, Chair of Friisberg & Partners International, also extended his welcome, “We were delighted to meet Sabine at our recent conference in Madrid and it is fantastic that she is opening a new Friisberg office in Vienna. Her immense and impressive experience will be a huge asset to Friisberg globally.".

Sabine is thrilled to be joining Friisberg & Partners International in these exciting times and is looking forward to working closely with the firm’s clients across the globe.

From the 7th -12th  June, the 60th edition of the Salone del Mobile was again on stage in Milan.

After a subdued September 2021, due to the many lockdowns, this edition was the first encouraging sign of recovery. It presented itself as big and busy:

"The 60th Salone Del Mobile has confirmed that it is a winning formula that cannot be ignored,” said the President of the association Federlegno Arredo Claudio Feltrin, speaking on behalf of a supply chain that brings together 70,000 companies, with 294,000 employees with a turnover of almost 50 billion euros.

On the front of the social media, 13.5 million accounts were reached, with more than 50,000 contents being generated by the community using the official hashtags (#salonedelmobile2022 and #salonedelmobile60th), 600,000 video views, 120,000 interactions with content and 25 million impressions. In the last week alone, the site has recorded 4.8 million page views with an average of 100,000 daily users (69.2% from Italy, 30.8% from abroad), and a 42% increase in new users registered on the platform.

The great interest of the Social Media for the Salone del Mobile comes also from the acknowledgement of the huge efforts of modernization which have been made in these 2 years,  not only on the suppliers’ side , but also by the international buyers, and the organizers of the Salone.

This year, the focus on sustainability has made the Salone an international stage for business ideas and technological solutions capable of contributing to the protection of the environment - also in the Furniture Sector. Digitalization has also arrived in the Furniture market, one of the most conservative ones in Italy.

Guglielmo and our team are in contact with the Federlegno Association, planning a further collaboration on a bigger scale. We will keep you updated!

FOCUS distinguishes our office in Germany as #TopPersonaldienstleister in #ExecutiveSearch 2022.

In cooperation with the renowned research institute Statista, FOCUS has identified the best personnel service providers in Germany.

We are very proud to have won in the category "Executive Search"!

Matthias Zühlke, a Partner in our Hamburg office said, "We are very pleased with this award and would like to thank our clients for the trusting cooperation! It is the result of our focus on quality in personnel selection and at the same time our ambition to continue to improve in the coming year".


The study was based on a list of around 3,000 personnel service providers. Subsequently, HR managers and job seekers were interviewed.

In order to make it into focus' top personnel service provider list, Friisberg Germany had to achieve a minimum number of mentions and recommendations as well as an above-average overall grade across all evaluation dimensions.

HR managers were interviewed about:
Candidates were asked about:

Thank you to everyone who has given us their trust and their voice.

This award is both a reward and an incentive for us!


Natasha Joseph recently joined our team in Johannesburg, South Africa.

We are delighted to welcome Natasha to Friisberg & Partners International.

She joins us as a Senior Associate with an impressive background in Executive Search and Management Consulting.

With 17 years’ experience, Natasha has carved a formidable reputation of outstanding service delivery and excellence with her clients. She is a passionate Head-Hunter who enjoys imparting specialised knowledge and headhunting skills to fellow colleagues and new employees. Natasha is extremely adept at sourcing, attracting and placing hard to find skills specifically, but not limited to, Financial Services.

Zoltan Petho, Chair of Friisberg, said, "Natasha has extensive experience in Executive Search, and the strength of her client relationships, combined with her people-focused skills means that she is a valued addition to our team."

In her spare time, Natasha enjoys all sorts of  indoor and outdoor activities and also loves cats - especially her beloved pet Katniss.

She is delighted to be joining Friisberg, South Africa and is looking forward to working closely with the firm’s clients and Partners.

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