EXCLUSIVE: Executive Search Firm Sterling Names Deputy Managing Partner

PARIS — Executive search firm Sterling International has named Ophélie Barassin deputy managing partner as the company maps out the next chapter of its growth.

It marks a return to the roots for the executive, who previously spent 13 years at the company, during which time she rose from researcher to chief operating officer.

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In 2017, Barassin left to become general manager at jewelry retailer Mad Lords, and in 2020, she was named executive director of Villa Eugénie, steering the events firm through the pandemic and its aftermath.

In her new position, effective Jan. 9, the executive is working hand-in-hand with Sterling founder and president Michael Boroian to manage the company. Founded in 2001, Sterling has offices in Paris, Milan, Brussels and New York City.

“In addition to her balance between strategic agility and operational prowess, she has a 360-degree vision on both the industry and the management of the executive search consultancy business,” Boroian told WWD.

“Perhaps most importantly, her combined talents as a respected, well-connected individual in our sector, and her exceptional personal qualities, have grown since her former tenure with the firm,” he added.

“There comes a point in any leader’s career where the need to renew and improve the value proposition requires a next generation of leadership. Ophélie Barassin possesses all of the qualities to lead Sterling into the future,” Boroian concluded.

Michael Boroian, Ophélie Barassin and Alice Bouleau of executive search firm Sterling International.
Michael Boroian, Ophélie Barassin and Alice Bouleau.

Barassin is the latest executive to be promoted at the firm, which last year named Alice Bouleau, head of the creative pole, as partner. Prior to that, it launched a digital pole and brought on Cristina Baruzzi, a former executive at Prada and Valentino, as partner in Milan.

“Sterling has always been recognized as an academy for producing talents in the executive search field,” Barassin told WWD. “The mandate is to map out the future of Sterling and to provide a link between its heritage and history and the next five or 10 years.”

Among her priorities will be developing new markets like Asia, optimizing the firm’s internal resources and raising the profile of its lesser-known activities, such as management assessment and organizational development.

Barassin said she also aims to modernize the corporate recruitment division, along the lines of what Bouleau has done on the creative side, to remain in step with a younger generation of chief executive officers.

“There is a need to connect in a contemporary way with all talents, whether candidates or clients, and technically, our teams reflect this,” she said. “The process will be a little more flexible, but we have to keep the same commitment to excellence internally.”

A graduate of NEOMA business school in France, Barassin has also held positions at Cartier and Emanuel Ungaro, as financial controller in both companies.

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