Kevin Kennedy joins Blue Ridge Partners as Senior Managing Director

02 August 2018

Technology and telecommunications executive Kevin Kennedy has joined the senior leadership team at growth consultancy Blue Ridge Partners. Previously the President and CEO of business communications giant Avaya, Kennedy brings over three decades of executive experience in technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) to the role of Senior Managing Director at Blue Ridge.

McLean, Virginia-based Blue Ridge Partners is a consultancy that focuses on accelerating the profitable revenue growth of clients. The firm supports strategic growth options like new market entry, geographical expansion, and product and service additions. The consultancy also helps optimize sales force effectiveness, channel performance, marketing, and pricing, among other areas.

The firm’s professionals work with Fortune 500 companies, mid-market businesses, and private equity firms to help identify and realize revenue performance improvements. Since 2002, the firm has supported hundreds of companies across North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia, and recently notched its 500th client. Aside from its D.C. area head office, Blue Ridge also has locations in Frankfurt, London, and Melbourne.

Most of the firm’s senior leadership comes from the ranks of large strategy consulting firms, though many have also led businesses. The firm has brought in a distinguished member of the latter category with the high-profile addition of seasoned business executive Kevin Kennedy. Formerly the CEO of business communications giant Avaya, Kennedy joins Blue Ridge as Senior Managing Partner.Kevin Kennedy joins Blue Ridge Partners as Senior Managing DirectorKennedy has over 30 years of executive experience in the field of technology and telecommunications. Before leading Avaya, where he was President and CEO from 2009-2017, Kennedy served as CEO of JDS Uniphase – an optical and communications tech company – from 2003 to 2008. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President at Cisco Systems, and Chief Operating Officer at mobile internet pioneer Openwave.

“We are extremely pleased and fortunate to have Kevin join our leadership team,” said Blue Ridge Partners Managing Partner Jim Corey. “Kevin will help us continue our explosive global growth, particularly in the TMT sector, and he will aid in building a stronger presence for our services in Silicon Valley and the US west coast. His distinguished and highly relevant experience will provide robust leadership and new insights for all our clients."

Kennedy is currently a board member of KLA-Tencor and Digital Realty, and has served on the boards of numerous tech companies, including Rambus, Quantum, and Polycom. In the public sphere, Kennedy was appointed to the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee in 2010 by President Obama. Before that, he served as a congressional fellow on the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in 1987.

Before his illustrious career in the technology and telecommunications business, Kennedy was an adjunct professor at Rutgers in the early 1980s, publishing papers in computational methods, data networking, and technology managements. He holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Lehigh University and an MS and PhD in engineering from Rutgers University. Kennedy has also completed an executive program at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

“Finding, accelerating and sustaining top line growth is the number one issue on the minds of CEOs and their Boards,” remarked Kennedy. "Having worked with the excellent Blue Ridge Partners team before, I am delighted now to join them. The firm is rapidly growing and is intensely focused on helping clients successfully pursue accelerated growth."

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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