ON Partners Announces Top Executive Moves of 2017

Changes at Amazon Studios, FDA, GE, HP Enterprise, Office Depot, United Health, Uber Impacting Corporations, Industries and Nation


CLEVELAND, OH – JANUARY 19, 2018 ─ ON Partners, the results-driven retained executive search firm, today reported its ON the Move list of the biggest corporate executive moves in 2017. The list reflects a major shift in government policy, changes in strategy among tech and retail giants, and the changing of the guard for a top health insurer. The biggest executive changes in 2017 include:


Scott Gottlieb, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Gottlieb joined the FDA mid-2017 and since then, the agency has doubled the number of pharma, device, and digital technology approvals. Seen as an “industry insider,” Gottlieb’s appointment was controversial and continues to be of concern to some. However, he is undeniably already making a major impact, evidenced by the number of recent FDA approvals, the agency’s more open stance to working with industry and more open-mindedness on regulations surrounding new digital therapies.

Roy Price, Amazon Studios
Former head of Amazon Studios Roy Price is among the scores of high-profile executives and public personalities who have been brought down by sexual harassment allegations, scandals that span many industries and that are still unfolding today. While Price’s replacement has yet to be named, the search is reportedly focused on female executives.

John Flannery, General Electric
Flannery took over as chairman and CEO in August after lackluster stock performance under Jeff Immelt. After completing an exhaustive 90-day review of the company in the fall, he told CNBC that everything in the company is up for review and that its cash flow is “horrible.” Flannery claims to have a solid understanding of where the company is underperforming and has mapped out a plan to fix it. All eyes will be on the company – and him – in 2018.

Antonio Neri, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
When Meg Whitman announced in November that she’s stepping down as CEO of HP Enterprise, the person named to replace her came as a surprise to many. The company now known as HPE will be run by an engineer for the first time in almost two decades. The big question: Can Neri take the remnants of a company split and reshaped by his predecessor and reignite innovation?

Gerry Smith, Office Depot
Since Smith replaced retiring CEO Roland Smith in early 2017, the former has focused on transforming the beleaguered company from an office supply chain into a service- and support-based business, with the acquisition of managed service giant CompuCom in October among its strategic moves. Analysts have been mostly bullish, but big questions remain as to whether Smith can successfully lead the company into the future.

Dara Khosrowshahi and Bozoma Saint John, Uber
Following reports of a toxic workplace culture and sexual harassment allegations, the company ousted co-founder Travis Kalanick and brought on new CEO Khosrowshahi from Expedia and Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John, former chief of consumer marketing at Apple, in an attempt to erase the “win at all costs” culture. The moves were generally met with approval by the markets and customers, but Kalanick’s misdeeds continue to haunt the company, with new allegations of bad and possibly illegal behavior still making headlines, as well as recent news that the company concealed a massive data breach and used Cold-War era tactics to spy on competitors.

David Wichmann, UnitedHealth Group
After longtime CEO Stephen Hemsley stepped down as the top executive of the nation’s largest health insurer, company president and longtime employee Wichmann was named to succeed him. With the company expected this year to eclipse $200 billion in annual revenues – despite withdrawing from individual insurance products from public exchanges under the Affordable Care Act – and Hemsley remaining as executive chairman of the company’s board to ensure continuity, the company is well positioned to remain at the top.

According to ON Partners partner Bryan Buck, “2017 was a tumultuous year both in business and government and our list reflects that, with the FDA representing just one of many major changes within the administration and among some of the most recognized companies in the country, if not the world. Looking ahead over the next several months, we should expect more controversial government appointments. It’s going to be an interesting year ahead.”


About ON Partners
ON Partners is more than just headhunters. The firm has assembled the best recruiters in the industry for one unified purpose: to recruit top talent that delivers results for our clients.

With a primary focus on the technology, life sciences, industrial, and energy/clean tech industries, ON Partners (ON) identifies and recruits the best C-Suite, Board and senior executive talent for both public and private companies, as well as venture capital and private equity firms.

With office locations across the country, ON Partners has ready access to key executives nationwide, empowering its consultants to discover and recruit the best talent available anywhere. www.onpartners.com

Jay Roberts, Roberts Buchanan Associates
917.696.2142 | jay@robertsbuchanan.com