About Us


Founded by former Heidrick & Struggles Consultants Jeff Hibbert and Tom Taft, the Laurel Group is a retained executive search with a presence in Seattle and Silicon Valley.

With the belief that a company’s success is heavily tied to its culture, the Laurel Group has built executive teams for a wide range of high performing businesses up and down the West Coast, including Microsoft, Oracle, and Nike among many others.

Our track record of success reveals three attributes that distinguish us from our competitors – we have unfettered access to talent, the ability to match candidates to the culture of a company, and high-level experience across various verticals. Put together, these distinctive qualities allow us to deliver quickly for companies seeking the highest performing executives in the marketplace.


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.


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.


Mike Taft

Mike has almost 20 years of executive search experience and specializes in bringing senior leaders into early and mid-stage software companies, with a particular focus on Revenue, Customer Success, and Product Management roles. He most recently worked at Odgers Berndtson in their San Francisco office.

Before joining Odgers Berndtson, Mike was a partner at a Silicon Valley-based executive search boutique that focused on technology-driven market disruptors. He was previously a consultant in the Global Technology & Services Practice at another global executive search and leadership advisory firm. Earlier in his career, Mike built the Silicon Valley Practice for the Laurel Group from scratch before moving to Heidrick & Struggles. Before beginning his executive search career, Mike spent ten years as a sales and business development executive in a variety of industries.
Mike earned his BS in Industrial Technology from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.


]eff 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.