2020 AESC Lifetime Achievement Awards Granted to Exemplars of Excellence in Executive Search and Leadership Consulting

The global Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) honored during this week’s AESC Global Conference, held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the achievements of leaders in executive search and leadership consulting for their exceptional contributions to the profession.  

The AESC Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed upon individuals who have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the profession of executive search and leadership consulting. Recipients are considered icons in the profession. This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to the following:

•    Dr. Bish Agrawal, Chair, Accord India and Founding Partner, AltoPartners
•    Willie E. Carrington, Principal and Founder, Carrington & Carrington
•    Kevin M. Connelly, CEO, Kincentric, A Spencer Stuart Company

Dr. Bish Agrawal, known to most people as "Doc," is widely perceived as a pioneer of executive search in India, with five decades of experience as a leader in the profession. He is Founder and Chair of Accord India and a Founding Partner of AltoPartners. Born to a modest family in a small village in Bihar, Doc made his mark in corporate India with “tons of self-belief, hard work and more than a stroke of luck” in his own words. After working with multinationals in the UK and in India, he set up a business consulting practice to help entrepreneurs build out new industries in the 70s in India. Increasingly, he was called on to help recruit leadership teams for these projects and he pivoted his business model. He has personally completed over 1,000 senior leadership searches across various industries. 

His passion for people, exceptional leadership, ability to mentor and his abiding commitment to recognizing potential has led colleagues and clients to describe him as "a visionary, a guide and a leader par excellence who has transformed lives." Agrawal has been the President of The Institute of Management Consultants of India, Visiting Professor at IIM Kolkata and Companion of The Institute of Management, London. He has received the prestigious Shiromani Award from former President of India, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma. He was also awarded Rajiv Gandhi Excellence Award by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Willie E. Carrington is Principal and Founder of Carrington & Carrington, a leading Black-owned executive search firm, founded in 1979 with a rigorous focus on diverse talent. Throughout his career, Carrington has played a significant role in increasing the representation of diverse professionals in major companies including Banking, Finance, Manufacturing, and Utilities. He has served as Executive Director of Inroads/Chicago and an Auditor for the former CPA firm Arthur Andersen & Co. Carrington has made substantial contributions to the community through his roles as a Founding Member of the Chicagoland Chapter of the National Association of Human Resources and as a Board member and Trailblazer for the National Association of Black Accountants. He is a Member of the Rainbow Push Coalition’s Board of Directors, Chicago United, and the Union League Club of Chicago.

Carrington has been an inspiration, reflecting one of AESC's important core values—diversity and inclusion. As an early leader in D&I, he represents the impact that executive search can and should have on diversity and on creating an inclusive culture. Peers share that "even when diversity was not front page news, companies and organizations reached out to Willie to help bring on diverse talent and support that talent. In addition to his own searches, he mentored countless executive search professionals focused on diversity. He opened doors and encouraged everyone." 

Kevin Connelly is CEO of Kincentric, a Spencer Stuart company focused on unlocking the power of people and teams, and a seasoned professional at Spencer Stuart where he consults with clients on executive leadership succession and board projects. Previously, he was the CEO of Spencer Stuart and prior to that served as Chair of the firm. As CEO, Connelly focused the firm on delivering differentially better outcomes, measured in terms of the leadership performance, cultural fit and durability of the executives selected. He has been instrumental in leading the firm's evolution to a full leadership advisory firm. Colleagues share that "he is distinctive and influential in the market, helping clients through the most challenging governance and leadership issues at many of the most significant businesses in the world. He is ingrained in the fabric of global leadership."

Connelly is a member of the steering committee of the Annual Corporate Governance Conference hosted by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and co-sponsored by Spencer Stuart. He also serves on the corporate board of directors for BMO Financial Corporation, Claridges Trust Company, and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. He is a member of The Economic Club of Chicago and The Commercial Club of Chicago.

Karen Greenbaum, AESC President & CEO, shares: “The AESC Lifetime Achievement Award recipients demonstrate the powerful impact, influence and reach of this profession. This is a profession that changes companies and lives.”

About the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants 

Since 1959, AESC has set the quality standard for the executive search and leadership advisory profession. AESC Members, ranging in size from large global executive search and leadership advisory firms and networks to regional and boutique firms, represent 16,000+ trusted professionals in 1,200+ offices, spanning 70+ countries. AESC Members are recognized leaders of global executive search and leadership advisory solutions. They leverage their access and expertise to place, find and develop more than 100,000 executives each year in board of directors and C-level positions for the world’s leading organizations of all types and sizes. Dedicated to strengthening leadership worldwide, AESC and its members share a deep commitment to the highest quality standards in executive search and leadership consulting—for the benefit of clients and the profession. We Shape. Connect. Educate. Learn more about us at aesc.org.