The role of the assignor in challenging international search projects

IESF France and IESF Israel demonstrated a strong corporation despite difficult cultural and economic circumstances

Partners of IESF, an international network of Executive Search firms, regularly work together on cross border assignments. Each project highlights new challenges and learnings. Sometimes it’s assumed that the assigned firm – responsible for the local search in their country – is the most important partner, since they are delivering the local candidates for the client and to the assignor partner, in the country the client and assignments is originated. In this case study about 2 executive search projects between Israel and France, we show you that’s not the case and demonstrate what an international cooperation is really based on: a strong advising assignor partner, combined with the local expertise and knowledge from the assigned partner.

IESF France and IESF Israel recently worked together on two similar search projects for Israeli based companies. For one client they searched for a Channel Commercial Director and for the other client they combined forces to find the best suitable CEO. Kishurim HR, led by Dror Katabi, and Hommes & Entreprises, managed by Valérie Désautel describe the challenges they faced, and how they managed to successfully complete the projects. What is the most important aspect of an international search? And how did you cooperate to give the client the advantage of an exclusive and extended international partnership? And finally: How do you manage search projects defined by ups and downs all the way?


In both searches the Israeli clients initially searched for Hebrew speaking managers, living in France, speaking the local language, knowing the local cultures and both possess very specific niche market experience. Dror Katabi: “As an assignor it’s very important to provide your clients with business consulting as well. I convinced the clients that they could trust our local French partner to find the best suitable candidate, from whatever country of origin, that they would deliver the best cultural fit. Maybe it could be even better for the business results.” Valérie Désautel adds: “In case of the first client for example, a company with innovative solutions, who mainly focuses on projects. We searched for a manager with a background in sales, but also technical, engineering, market experience. This person should be familiar with a lot of components and had to manage a major cultural change as well, which made it a challenging search. The first round we found a few candidates, but then Covid came so the client stopped the whole project.  A year later we started all over again from scratch.” And then IESF Israel as assignor partner interviewed all the candidates personally. Dror adds: “I was very involved, to make sure the local candidates would fit the Israeli company. I acted a as personal advisor to the Chairman, since I know both of them very well.”

Local expertise and patience

“We introduced 5 candidates”, explains Valérie “And 3 candidates were selected to interview personally in France by the Israeli Global CEO. After the selection process there were some details to finetune, in this stage of a search project the role of the assignor partner is key. Dror added “I personally advised the client to choose this particular candidate, based on my partner’s recommendation. Once the client knows me and trusts my professional advice, it’s my role to make sure the client makes the best choice possible for his company. The real consultancy is for the leading consultant in an international search. But we wouldn’t have been this successful without the great local knowledge and the patience of our French partner. For example, the expertise on how to interview locally and the way Valérie and her team really thought outside the box and went above and beyond for our clients. The global CEO was grateful especially for the way Valérie and her team led the search and restarted it all over again, patiently and professionally.”

Bridge the gap

In the case of the second client, this company just broke apart from a mother organization and had to start all over again. Dror Katabi: “We needed to find an ambitious manager with suitable compensation benefits. The company faced difficult market circumstances, to survive or succeed they needed the right professional. We suggested to search one level down for a manager who is very good in his role right now, and this role as CEO would be a great promotion for him or her. We searched in the same industry. During the interviews we briefed the client on cultural differences and boundaries, because there was a big cultural gap between the client and the best potential candidates. With me as an advising partner to the client and Valerie and her team as advisors to the candidates we managed to make a great match. In which both the clients and the candidates are happy with the end results.”

the client

About the author

Dror Katabi


Dror Katabi, with over 30 years’ management and consulting experience in different industries, is Founder and CEO of Kishurim HR.

Under Dror’s management, Kishurim has consistently delivered innovation in all its areas of activity. Dror has led the company’s focus on specific sectors, developing new specialities and expertise, backed by comprehension knowledge of the industry, integrity and a personal touch, among candidates and clients.

On September 2010 Kishurim HR joined IESF (International Executive Search Federation)—the largest Executive search group in the world with over 130 offices in 40 countries worldwide. Being an active partner, Kishurim HR hosted the annual IESF Conference in Tel Aviv in March 2012. Dror has been N IESF Practice Expertise member in most of the sectors and one of the leading partners at the Africa Centre of Expertisecellence.

Specialities: Global Executives Search, Management Consulting, Talent Acquisition.

About the author

Valerie Desautel


Master in Law and labour psychology completed by a Master at ESCP Europe, Valérie Truchot-Desautel has over 20 years’ executive search and assessment experience at such multinationals as Progress and Humblot Grant Alexander.

As a generalist, Valérie covers the private headhunting, assessment and interim management sectors.

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