The Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants Announces Updated Standards

The Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC), the global professional association representing excellence in executive search and leadership advisory, is proud to announce the release of updated professional standards to reflect the evolution of the profession. The updated standards underscore that AESC members can be counted on to maintain the highest level of quality and professionalism.   

AESC CEO Karen Greenbaum said, “AESC has set the standards for the executive search and leadership consulting profession since 1959. To become a member, a firm must go through a comprehensive audit including member and client reference checks. Clients can trust that when they engage an AESC member, they are working with a firm that meets the highest quality standards in the profession. Our global standards also provide candidates confidence; they can trust executive search consultants from an AESC member firm.” 

With the help of the AESC Board of Directors and the AESC Government and Legal Affairs Committee, AESC revised its Code of Professional Conduct and Professional Practice Standards to ensure the AESC’s guiding principles reflect the state of the profession today. AESC also aligned its purpose, mission, promise and values with these updated standards of excellence. 

AESC Board Chair and Heidrick & Struggles Partner Julian Ha commented, “In a marketplace undergoing vast uncertainty and experiencing tremendous change, AESC is steadfast in its commitment to ethics, integrity and excellence in executive search and leadership consulting. These updated standards reflect the evolution of the profession and the current business climate, and continue to differentiate AESC member firms in the market.”  

Code of Professional Conduct 

The AESC Code of Professional Conduct is the foundation on which AESC membership is built. All members are guided by a shared commitment to this code, which summarizes AESC values: 

  • Ethics & Integrity 
  • Excellence 
  • Objectivity 
  • Diversity & Inclusion 
  • Confidentiality 

Professional Practice Standards 

The AESC Professional Practice Standards are aligned with our Code of Professional Conduct (our shared values) and provide a framework for how members conduct their business. Members of the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) commit to these Professional Practice Standards as part of admission to the Association and recommit on an ongoing basis. 

Client Bill of Rights 

The AESC Client Bill of Rights outlines the rights and obligations of AESC member firms and their clients. This bill addresses candor, clarity, conflicts, deep knowledge, advisory relationships, confidentiality, communication, diversity and inclusion, and follow-through.  

Candidate Bill of Rights 

The AESC Candidate Bill of Rights details what candidates can expect when working with an AESC member firm. The bill addresses exclusivity, open communication, diversity and inclusion, confidentiality, assessment and selection, candidate care, and more.  

AESC’s Purpose 

AESC’s purpose is simple and yet powerful – “Strengthening Leadership Together.” AESC’s mission, promise, and values encapsulate the impact of AESC membership and the commitment AESC members make to quality and the highest standards – elevating the standing of their firms and our profession. While members compete in the marketplace, together they collaborate for the good of the profession. 

About AESC   

Since 1959, AESC has set the quality standards for the executive search and leadership consulting profession. AESC Members represent 16,000+ trusted professionals in 1,200+ offices, spanning 70+ countries. AESC Members are recognized experts providing consulting services in the areas of leaders, teams, and culture to the world’s leading organizations. They leverage their access and expertise to place more than 100,000 executives each year in board of directors and C-level positions across industry sectors. Dedicated to strengthening leadership together, 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. Innovate. Learn more about us at aesc.org. For AESC’s executive career services, visit bluesteps.com.