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A New Option in the CMR Channel

07/10/2009 - It wasn’t so long ago that successful small to medium size CMR’s had an informal channel where they could buy and sell their businesses. At that time larger CMR’s built their operations through acquisition.

Hawthorne Executive Search Vice President Jenny Ciappa has been a catalyst in helping several CMRs complete transactions to sell/broker their operations to other CMRs. We recently interviewed her to understand more about her efforts.

For those that don’t know Jenny, she brings a 30+ year directory advertising and marketing background to the table. Her depth of industry knowledge with an innate ability to match companies with other possible partners is quickly earning her the matchmaker of the year award. Jenny began her career at TMP Worldwide, where she worked for 20 years. During her TMP tenure, her responsibilities included working with high profile clients, dealer/franchise businesses, account management responsibilities, telemarketing and sales training. As Vice President, Business Development, Jenny holds the record as TMP's most decorated new business leader.

After leaving TMP, Jenny served as Executive Vice President-New Business/Marketing at Wahlstrom Group, the directory advertising arm of The Interpublic Group of Companies. During her more than 10 years at Wahlstrom Group, the firm experienced notable additions to their client roster, including Cendant, UBS, Barnes & Noble, Hilton, Sears Home Improvement, Overhead Door, Brinks, PetSmart/Banfield Veterinary Services, RSC and many other Blue Chip clients.

YPT: Is it time to sell my CMR business?

Ciappa: If you have a successful CMR business, sooner or later you’ll consider selling it for one reason or another. Perhaps you have worked hard and it’s time to move on to retirement or just do something else you’ve always wanted to do. Or maybe you would like to know what your business is worth considering such a decision. Selling a business that you have built up can be very emotional, difficult decision – perhaps analogous to sending your youngest off to college. Difficult yet liberating.

YPT: What if a CMR wants to expand their business!

Ciappa: Even better. If retirement or selling your CMR is not on your mind –and you are looking to expand your business - what better way to do that than through acquisition of an established business with clients?

YPT: Why you, and why Hawthorne Search?

Ciappa: Mostly because we can help facilitate a complicated conversation such as this. Through our recruiting efforts we already know the CMR and Directory advertising community intimately, our team has actual industry experience, and these can be very emotional discussions. Hawthorne Executive Search is a company that has worked with the directory advertising community for many years, has been very successful in facilitating the development of teams, the coaching of clients on how to improve their business, and managing these processes seamlessly. In the last 3 months Hawthorne Search has successfully closed six CMR sale transactions and we are currently are working on several others.

We are professional in our approach, we maintain total confidentiality, and we work closely with prospective buyers and sellers to bring about a positive transaction that meets the requirements of both parties.

The process is uncomplicated, our fees are extremely reasonable and we will respect the privacy of all the parties involved. But mostly, WE KNOW THE DIRECTORY BUSINESS. We will find the best match for your business.

So if you are thinking about selling your business, expanding your business, or would just like to explore either option, please give us a call. All discussions will be kept in strict confidence.

About Hawthorne Executive Search:

Hawthorne Executive Search, is a full service executive search and consultancy focused on the advertising, publishing and media industries. With decades of experience, Hawthorne Executive Search is an executive search and management firm that has assisted companies of all sizes in the recruitment and selection of top talent across North America and beyond. Every assignment managed by our firm includes the involvement of a principal, experienced in helping clients build high performance management teams.

With contacts on all levels of the organizational chart, from the senior management or "C" level, to field sales representatives and account executives, we have a database of over 5,000 professionals who are either currently or formerly employed in the directory industry.

By focusing on the industry, there isn't a search outside of our comfort zone. We are able to execute most projects within 2-3 weeks from inception. Some examples of successfully completed searches include:

Our clients include publishers, both independent and incumbent, CMRs, Internet Yellow Pages and Search Engine Optimization firms, and suppliers to the directory industry.

For those interested in exploring opportunities to buy or sell a CMR agency, please contact Jenny Ciappa at 973-220-7272 or via email at