Heidrick & Struggles to cut more staff

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Until now, the US end of the business has borne the brunt of job losses and pay cuts in the face of the economic downturn.

As part of an overhaul within the firm, a reduced compensation package has been agreed with Patrick Pittard, who recently moved over from the position of chief executive to founder chairman. Pittard, who had been promised a compensation settlement package of $1m (€1.1m) a year for life on retirement, is now to get $500,000 a year for life and will leave the firm.

Pittard's departure comes after an apparent shareholders' revolt at the original plans for compensation. Big shareholders in Heidrick, including Brian Sullivan, head of the global financial services practice and a member of the board, have sold large stock positions in recent weeks.

Heidrick's share price dipped below $14 on Nasdaq last week and has been as low as $12, from a 52-week high of over $62.

British-born Piers Marmion, the recently appointed 42-year-old chief executive, is expected to take over as chairman. David Anderson, the appointed chief operating officer, will become president. Neither has any experience running a publicly-held company, but insiders at Heidrick say they complement each other well. Marmion is deemed to be the 'strategic visionary', while Anderson is said to be sharp on the operational side.

Heidrick has been steadily building its financial services practice in Europe, most recently in July with the purchase of SHP Associates, the middle-market search and selection firm with a focus on financial services and technology. The announcement is expected ahead of a webcast for investors on Tuesday and third-quarter financial results on November 5.

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