The Laurel Group is a retained executive search firm that believes strongly in two things: One, that the market success of any company is tied to its culture and, two, that the combination of great people, innovative tools and efficient operations becomes a strategic corporate asset when aligned with business goals.. The firm was founded in 2002 by former Heidrick & Struggles Consultants, Jeff Hibbert and Tom Taft. Since then it has established a presence in Silicon Valley and grown it’s client base significantly on the West Coast. The track record of success reveals the three attributes that distinguish the Laurel Group from its competitors; the industry focus, unfettered access to talent and ability to match candidates, not just to the spec, but to the culture of the company. Put together, these distinctive qualities allow the Laurel Group to deliver quickly for companies seeking new executives and their staffs.
Tom Taft is Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Laurel Group and leads executive level searches, management, and business development for the firm. He has over twenty years in high technology sales and marketing with fifteen years of senior level work in the executive search business focused on sales, marketing, finance, CEO, Board, and general management positions. Prior to co-founding the Laurel Group, Tom was with Heidrick & Struggles where he was recruited to establish the Seattle office. Tom served as a member of the International Technology Practice, where he conducted executive searches for CEOs, VPs, Board of Directors, and other key executives for emerging growth and publicly traded technology companies, focusing on the software and services sectors.
Before joining Heidrick & Struggles, Inc., Tom was a Partner with the Huntington Group, an executive search firm based in Trumbull, Connecticut. Tom also spent three years with a publicly traded software consulting and search firm based in San Francisco, where he was an Executive Recruiter in the IT practice working with technology clients nationwide. Tom has a depth of experience working with established public companies and early stage technology startups, encompassing software, consumer and services oriented ventures. He has led searches for numerous venture capital firms and their emerging technology portfolio companies. Tom worked in sales and marketing at a variety of organizations prior to recruiting, including in product marketing at Apple Computer and sales at R.R. Donnelley & Sons. Tom holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Marketing and Advertising from San Jose State University. Tom resides in Seattle with his wife and three daughters.
Jeff Hibbert is Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Laurel Group and leads executive level searches, operations, finance, and business development for the firm. Prior to this new venture, Jeff was recruited to Heidrick & Struggles’ Silicon Valley Office as Global Practice Lead for the Engineering & Technology Specialty Practice and to help launch the Seattle office. He was also a member of the International Technology Practice, which is now the industry’s largest specialty practice, annually executing approximately 2600 officer-level searches worldwide for technology companies. Specializing in searches for emerging and transforming technology businesses, he has served clients in software, services, consumer, wireless, and networking. Jeff has an extensive track record of completing technology leadership assignments, such as VP Engineering, CTO, VP Product Development, and CIO,
Jeff’s clients’ range from entrepreneurial companies to later-stage growth companies, with a particular geographic focus on Silicon Valley, the Northwest and multinational enterprises. In addition to many searches over the past few years, Jeff is a regular speaker and discussion group leader on the evolving role of the Executive Engineer and has undertaken a number of Advisory and Corporate Board organization design projects. Jeff’s board experience includes non-executive roles and advisory member for emerging technology companies in the Silicon Valley. He received his Bachelor of Science from Western Illinois University and was a Graduate Assistant at the University of Missouri. Jeff resides in Seattle with his wife and their two sons.
Chris Berta is a Partner of the Laurel Group with responsibilities including business development and senior management searches. His primary area of focus is in the marketing and product management organizations. He brings over 17 years of recruiting, sales and marketing experience with Fortune 50 companies as well as early stage start-ups. Prior to joining the Laurel Group, Chris was the Marketing Manager at Washington Mutual, Inc., directing their online marketing efforts. He developed his knowledge of the online marketing space during his tenure as an Account Director at Avenue A, now Aquantive, Inc., and at Amazon.com.
Previous to his work in the marketing arena, Chris had a successful selling and business development career within the consumer goods industry for Sara Lee Corporation and Seattle’s Best Coffee. He has an impressive business track record of managing all stages of a product’s development as well as managing marketing campaigns for small start-ups to Fortune 50 companies. Chris is a member of the Seattle Chamber of the American Marketing Association and the Seattle Rotary #4. In addition, he serves on the marketing board of the University of Washington Alumni Association. He received a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Bachelor in Arts in German from the University of Washington. Chris resides in Seattle with his wife and their two sons.
Matt is a partner at Laurel Group with responsibilities including executive level searches and business development. Prior to joining The Laurel Group, Matt co-founded and spent over 15 years as a Managing Partner at Zeteo, Inc., a Seattle-based boutique search firm providing direct placement services to technology companies from Fortune 50 to emerging startups. As a Managing Partner at Zeteo, Matt was responsible for business development, account management, research and search execution focusing on mid to executive level positions across sales, marketing, and product management. Before founding Zeteo, Matt was a partner at EDK Technologies, a technology startup providing web development services to small businesses, startups and creative design agencies.
Matt resides in Seattle with his wife, two sons and a daughter. When he’s not in the office, Matt is a year-round volunteer in the Seattle youth athletics community working with Seattle Parks & Recreation Youth Sports Programs, Seattle Youth Soccer Association, and North Seattle Baseball Association. Matt holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Biology from Texas State University.