The Whiting Group has been an invaluable asset to both large and small brands within the Outdoor, Wintersports, Bicycle, Surf, Skate and Yoga industries since 1997, partnering with them to recruit and retain the best possible leadership and talent, in turn bringing best practices that are integral to achieving their goals, whether those goals involve moving into new product categories, new consumer or trade channels or new geographic markets.
Founder and Principal
Graduating from the University of Illinois in 1981 with a BA in Economics, Frank spent the next 15 years working for industry leaders in the consumer durables industry. In 1996 Frank was recruited to Chicago-based mid-sized executive search firm Cook Associates (www.cookassociates.com).
Cook Associates’ practice areas were structured by industry, and Frank was brought in to launch a practice in Sporting Goods, an industry segment that the firm had been in and out of during their 30-year history. Despite his lack of industry experience, Frank was able to build the Sporting Goods practice into a top-5 practice for Cook, and remained in Cook’s top-5 every year of Frank’s five years there. Sporting Goods was Cook’s #1 practice area in 2000, setting a revenue record for a search practice at Cook (billings > $ 1 million).
On October 1, 2001, driven by a desire to continue to focus on the niche that he had created, Frank left Cook Associates and founded The Whiting Group, an executive search firm dedicated to serving the needs of companies in the human-powered and action sports industries. Today The Whiting Group is the premier search organization serving the outdoor, ski & snowboard, bicycle, surf, skateboard and yoga industries.
As an industry specialist/functional generalist, Frank has completed senior-level searches in all product (apparel, equipment and footwear) and functional areas (except IT) and has worked in North America, Europe and Asia. He has placed Presidents or CEO’s in companies like Reef, Raleigh Bicycles, Fischer Skis, Icebreaker NA, Scott NA and Timbuk2, and has staffed entire management teams for brands like Reef, Icebreaker and most recently multiple positions for Skullcandy.
In addition to his for-profit search work, Frank has done numerous pro-bono or reduced fee searches for associations and not-for-profit organizations including The Outdoor Industry Association, The Access Fund, SurfAid International, The American Alpine Club, International Surfing Association and World Bicycle Relief. He sits on the board of the Young Men’s Educational Network (YMEN – www.ymenchicago.com), a Christian mentorship organization for young African American men in what is arguably Chicago’s 2nd-worst neighborhood. He has served on the YMEN board for >10 years and has held the positions of Treasurer and President (current).
In his spare time Frank is a passionate cyclist, paddler, swimmer, scuba diver, skier (AT), backpacker, yogi and musician.