Compliance Gouvernance

“Our board advisory offer is an extension of our talent recruitment mission”

Specialized in recruitment for legal and compliance departments, BCP Partners expands its offer to governance strategy consulting in order to provide a more complete solution to its clients.

Décideurs. Can you introduce us to your firm BCP Partners?
Blandine Cordier-Palasse.

Specialized in recruitment for legal and compliance departments, BCP Partners expands its offer to governance strategy consulting in order to provide a more complete solution to its clients.

BCP Partners is a headhunting and governance consulting firm. We specialize in direct recruitment for legal, ethics and compliance, finance and risk departments on the one hand, and directors on the other. Since 2020, we have also developed a governance consulting and assessment offer for governance bodies (board of directors or supervisory board, executive committee, management committee) in order to meet our clients’ needs. This is the logical growth of our firm given our values.

The development of the firm’s activity is organized around two poles: recruitment and governance strategy consulting. How do these two activities complement each other ?

I regularly speak with CEOs when recruiting legal or financial directors, chief compliance officers in particular, or with board chairmen when recruiting directors. This leads us to discuss how they manage their human capital and the new skills or personalities they need. But also their governance, the role of the board of directors, the general secretary and the board secretary, the legal director or the compliance director, the link between compliance and governance, the role and responsibilities of the board, the interactions between the board and the board of directors, the evaluation of the board’s performance, etc. I have been involved in these issues for a very long time, as I was secretary of boards of directors and legal director in listed groups for more than fifteen years. And this is why I co-founded the Cercle de la Compliance in 2011.
There is a real complementarity between these areas of the firm’s activity, since both require an understanding of human dynamics, organizational issues and corporate governance, and anticipating changes in order to provide solutions that are also based on people. In this sense, it is an extension of our mission to “hunt” for talent. This is why the clients for whom we regularly recruit have followed our lead on the board advisory offer. Chairmen and CEOs feel the need and the urgency to improve human dynamics, organization and functioning of their governance bodies, especially since the beginning of the crisis.
They also wish to evaluate their governance bodies by taking advantage of the experience and hindsight that we provide. They can thus implement individual and collective solutions, reinforce the role and added value of governance bodies in order to accompany the evolution or even the transformation of the company. What is the risk for the client to remain as it is? Lacking the ability to take a step back, to change one’s posture in order to seek a better understanding, a stronger dynamic, a commitment from the members of the bodies and, by capillarity, from the teams.

Is that why you changed the identity of the firm and the logo in 2020, BCP Executive Search became BCP Partners ?

Yes, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the firm in 2020 and 90% of our clients are very loyal. The name “BCP Executive Search” was no longer appropriate given the expansion of the service offering to include governance consulting. BCP Partners also reflects the fact that our team has grown in 2020 and should continue to grow in 2021.

What type of clientele do you support for each of these two activities ?

We assist executive committees, boards of directors, corporate secretaries or board members, and legal departments of listed and unlisted groups, in governance strategy consulting.
As for our recruitment activity, it is aimed at all types of French and foreign clients. In particular, we work with international clients, such as American, Chinese and Japanese groups, whether listed or not, who wish to develop their business in Europe or in France and recruit dedicated teams. The firm also works with lawyers and notary offices. For example, we have recruited partners, associates, and even recently a managing director for a fast-growing firm of more than 100 notaries. We are also present alongside consulting firms that need to strengthen their teams, particularly in compliance.

How do you differentiate yourself in a market like yours that looks highly competitive ?

Being two partners who had a rich operational background before turning to recruitment allows us to innovate, and this is an asset. We have a pragmatic and informed vision of our clients’ challenges and we speak the same language. Our precise and global knowledge of the market and our know-how in these fields reassure our clients that we are able to find the right candidate.
And our double vision allows us not only to identify the professional skills of the candidates but also to better evaluate their potential, their ability to adapt to the client’s culture and, increasingly, to uncertainties, to changing management…
Finally, my clients often point out that I have a vision, an intuition, which enabled me, for example, to anticipate the rise of compliance by co-creating the Cercle de la Compliance ten years ago and more recently to help resize a legal department in order to better contribute to the internationalization of one of the most dynamic of our SMEs.

Has the Covid-19 crisis had a significant impact on your missions ?

The Covid 19 crisis is a gas pedal of opportunity and growth. Companies need to strengthen their support functions and integrate talents, even complementary skills, to accompany the change in operating model and better understand the risks to which they may be more exposed. We are recruiting a risk, audit and internal control director for a listed group, a function that has become strategic and global.
And one group recruited a group compliance officer at a time when it was also launching a PES, the chairman stating that this function was essential to redefine the business model.
In addition, some profiles were found to have reached their competency threshold or to no longer have the leadership or interpersonal skills to deal with the current challenges. In both cases, we were more often solicited by companies wishing to strengthen their teams. From an organizational point of view, we were already used to working remotely, with offices in Paris and Lyon. We adapted to the context and developed video-conference interviews, as did our clients.

Do you think remote recruitment will eventually become the norm after the health crisis ?

No, because nothing can replace the pleasure and richness of human contact. While it is true that we are successful in recruiting remotely and that this is effective, the relationship remains fundamental. Integrating remote tools will facilitate contact. But for management positions, for example, clients need to meet candidates in person, and vice versa.

What is your view on the evolution of the recruitment market, in particular for legal and compliance functions ?

This is a very positive view because these functions have taken on an increasingly important role and are rising in rank in organizations. And this is also due to the quality of the people who carry them out. Legal and compliance directors have acquired essential expertise in a more complex, regulated and international world. More and more, they have also developed an appetite and the ability to manage risk from a cross-functional and operational perspective and have become the strategic advisor to their general management to support and bring strong added value to the organization. Whatever the profile of the talent to be recruited, these functions, long perceived as costs, are now seen as contributing to the deployment of the strategy, the efficiency of the organization and the strategic protection of the company, its managers and stakeholders.

Would you say that the Covid-19 crisis has also had an effect on corporate governance ?

Yes, clearly. In fact, it is in this context of transformation of the role of the board and increasing risks that I contributed to the writing of a book entitled Breathing new life into your governance. The board is at the heart of the company’s sustainability. Increasing its efficiency strengthens the company’s performance. We address topics such as the role and responsibility of a board, the duties and powers of directors, issues related to CSR, compliance, the logic of powers and actions, the interactions between the board and the comex, the evaluation of the board’s performance, the questions and challenges of the chairmen, which are essential for both a chairman and the board members. Faced with these issues, I hope to convince executives and shareholders of the importance and value of robust, integrated and balanced governance.

Can you also tell us about your social commitment ?

During the crisis, we chose to enter into a partnership with the NQT association Nos quartiers ont du talent (Our Neighborhoods Have Talent) in order to support young people in difficult situations by giving them useful advice to help them get through job interviews. Our commitment also lies in the fact that we contribute free of charge to training courses for directors on governance issues at the Cercle des administrateurs and at Essec, and on compliance in particular at the University of Assas, Dauphine and Sciences Po.


You have offices in Paris and Lyon. Do you plan to expand further in France and internationally ?

We have offices in Paris and Lyon for strategic reasons. Most of the support function managers to be recruited or chased are located in the Paris region. As for governance, the Rhône-Alpes region is very dynamic and the fact that we can develop a personalized and close relationship with the members of the board and the comex is a real asset.
On the international level, we have created a partnership with the American firm DSML. This firm is headed by a Franco-American who works for French and European groups that are setting up or expanding in the United States. This merger is in line with our desire to take advantage of this multiculturalism in order to further strengthen the international profiles that we offer our clients. And conversely, to share our business and sector experience. It is therefore a “win win” partnership.

Key figures :

  • 3 offices: Paris, Lyon and Chicago
  • Team: 2 partners and 5 associates
  • 10 years of existence
  • 90% of our clients are very loyal