Seven consulting firms compete for racial bias audit of Charleston PD

07 June 2018

Charleston, SC, is recruiting a consulting firm to conduct a racial bias study of the city’s police department. Seven firms are in the running for the contract, which comes after multiple racially-tinged police shootings across the state made international headlines.

Companies are increasingly drafting in consulting firms to identify racial and gender biases in their hiring or promotion practices. Some, such as hotels, airlines, and now Starbucks, are calling in experts to highlight potential biases in their treatment of customers. Public actors, from political parties to government departments, are also getting their house in order as they realize there is such a thing as bad publicity.

Charleston fits into this latter category. South Carolina’s largest city recently published a proposal for a Racial Bias Audit of the Charleston Police Department. City councillors will soon decide from among seven consulting firms in the running to secure the contract. Specifically the city wants to find out whether the PD’s tactics have a negative impact on black citizens and other minorities.

That Charleston should outsource such research to consulting firms is not surprising. The city’s near neighbor – North Charleston – has been mired in controversy concerning the unlawful killing of Walter Scott, an unarmed black motorist. Former North Charleston PD officer Michael Slager was recently handed a 20-year jail sentence for firing eight shots at his victim as he tried to run away from what was at the time a routine traffic stop.

Charleston itself was the site of white supremacist Dylann Roof’s 2015 massacre of nine black churchgoers. The atrocity helped spark a new movement to remove Confederate symbols from public buildings across South Carolina. In Charleston the major issue of the day is pretext stops, whereby officers stop citizens for alleged minor violations as an excuse to investigate suspected felonies.

Seven consulting firms compete for racial bias audit of Charleston PD

Overseeing the consultancy chosen to carry out the racial bias study will be the Charleston Area Justice Ministry. The group will demand regular updates and a comprehensive report on the extent of racial bias in the police department, should it be found to exist. Recommendations will also be expected.

Conducting such a study demands a degree of specialist knowledge and experience from the consultancy chosen. Among the candidates are Hillard Heintze, a Chicago-based firm that helped the Seattle PD develop a new use-of-force policy. Another candidate is Dallas-based Coleman & Associates Consultants – a coaching and HR consultancy experienced in working with law enforcement outfits.

Also competing for the project are the Police Foundation, which advises on civilian oversight of police actions, and CNA – a non-profit consultancy with a specialist focus on the public sector. They are joined by OIR Group – a Californian consulting firm that has conducted research on police killings in the Golden State, and RTI International – which advises on ‘social and justice policy’. The final shortlisted firm is 21st Century Policing Solutions, whose top consultants include former police chiefs and commissioners.


Leadership advisor YSC Consulting appoints Eric Pliner as CEO

18 April 2019

London-based global leadership consultancy YSC has appointed Eric Pliner as its new CEO, replacing Robert Sharrock, who held the role for five years. Pliner, previously the firm’s Americas leader, will remain based in New York City.

For 30 years, YSC Consulting has been providing leadership advisory services to clients across a wide range of industries. The firm provides services in the areas of leadership strategy, performance, research, and analytics. YSC also has offerings in organizational leadership and CEO & board advisory. The firm’s approach is grounded in the behavioral sciences, allowing clients to better align business strategy and leadership.

In 2017, Graphite Capital complete a private equity investment in the firm, which has allowed YSC to continue its rapid expansion across the globe. Today, the firm has 19 offices across the Americas, EMEA, and APAC regions, staffed by 225 professionals with backgrounds in clinical psychology and organizational behavior, among other areas.

YSC’s incumbent CEO, Robert Sharrock, will now move into the roles of managing director of YSC’s board and CEO of the advisory practice. Sharrock had previously indicated that he would move into a client-facing role following one year of results after the private equity infusion.Leadership advisor YSC Consulting appoints Eric Pliner as CEO


 “Having achieved the goals we established as a business during my tenure, I look forward to fully devoting my time to the client service areas of the business I find most rewarding, which is working directly with board members and CEOs,” Sharrock said. “I will also be offering my unreserved support to Eric and our global team as we continue to expand our distinctive business around the world.”

Eric Pliner, who has been with the firm since 2010, will step into the role of CEO. An expert in organizational behavior, talent management, and development, Pliner joined the firm as a senior consultant, working his way up to managing director and head of YSC Americas in 2014.

Prior to joining YSC, Pliner was director of organizational talent management & development at the NYC Department of Education, and was an adjunct instructor in the curriculum & teaching department at Hunter College in New York. He holds an MBA in management, organizational behavior, and human resources from the City University of New York – Baruch College.

“Robert has successfully led the business through five years of sustained growth and shaped the brand into a premier global leadership consultancy,” Pliner said. “I am thrilled and humbled by the opportunity to lead this iconic firm as we continue to serve world-class organisations in understanding and developing the critical leadership to achieve their future business strategies.

“Whether through individual executive assessment, pre-deal due diligence and post-deal integration for private equity transactions, design and execution of inclusive leadership and diversity strategy, coaching for senior executives and teams, resilient change leadership, and more, YSC’s global services are and will remain distinctive, characterful, and best-in-class,” he added.

Related: Ohio-based consultancy Change 4 Growth launches UK office