In this profile series, we introduce the partner offices of the Kennedy network. In this edition, please meet our friends at Lens Executive Search/ Kennedy Amsterdam.
Just outside the main core of the Unesco listed canal district of Amsterdam is the former Royal Tropical Institute. It is here where Kennedy’s Amsterdam partner Lens, has its seat. They were asked to move into the monumental building because of their work, with reduced rates, for NGOs and non-profits in sustainability. Their offices consist of three grand rooms with high ceilings and many original details like wainscoting, ceilings with ornament and crown molding, parquet floors and majestic windows. It is not the first office of Lens, but it is where they will be for a while still if you ask any of the team. It feels like home. Office dog Teddy, who regularly joins her owner Bart for a day at work, and a tradition of monthly homemade soups add to the homely feel.
Completing teams and guiding careers since 2007
Lens started in 2007 as Lens and Partners. Founding fathers were Carl Lens and Dave Heilbron, who on his own was the ‘partners’ in the name. Plural, as it gave the young start-up a more established name. Carl and Dave started the company after the Executive Search firm they both worked for went out of business and they got the chance to take over the operations. They seized this opportunity with great enthusiasm, and became entrepreneurs almost overnight. Dave has since left, but Carl still heads the company today.
Lens is small but mighty. The current team consists of four people who make up the core of the company. Carl heads the business and is the one in charge of account management, bringing in new business and maintaining the company’s network. Senior Consultant Bart Heerdink and Recruitment Consultant Thijs Zoontjes assist him in this and are in charge of researching and identifying the right talent for the various positions the company’s clients like to see filled. Office Manager Hanneke is everybody’s much-needed support system. Without her, the company would seize to exist. It makes sense they fondly refer to her as their VP of Operations.
Health Care, Life Sciences & Quantitative Finances
Together, they cater to a variety of clients in a wide scope of industries. They mainly search for positions on Board level and just below that and Senior Specialists. This ranges from Chief Technology Officer for a MedTech Company to the Chief Food Security Officer for the Dutch Food Authority. It makes them a generalist firm but historically there is a strong link and specialty in Health Care & Life Sciences as well as Quantitative Finances. The first because of Carl’s background in sales for medical technology and suppliers in health care. The second by chance. One of the country’s largest Insurance companies approached the young firm in 2008 to help them find their Head of Actuary, introducing Lens into a specialty they are now well established in. They have placed the VP of Value Based Healthcare with a multinational medtech firm as well as the Chief Investment Officer with a renowned Dutch financial institute.
Lens has been a member of the Kennedy network since 2015. It makes them one of the original partners, joining fourth after Paris, Prague and Milan. Carl is also Managing Director EMEA of the network and Practice Leader Life Sciences.