Ward Howell International (WHI) was founded in New York City in 1951 by Henry Wardwell Howell, former Head of Executive Search at McKinsey & Company.

Originally conceived as a small partnership, WHI adopted a corporate structure in 1954, and continued its rapid growth and expansion across the USA. At the time, WHI was widely esteemed for the high caliber of clients in its portfolio, as well as the outstanding quality of its candidate base.

Following a rapid nationwide expansion, WHI established its first international office in London in 1968, and continued to expand across the globe until 1997.

Due to the departure of our US partners in 1997, Ward Howell gradually rebranded in several markets into Signium in 1999. After the brand name in the US became legally available again for registration, the majority of the senior partners of the group decided to rebrand again – back to Ward Howell.

Today, WHI has grown to 30 offices worldwide and is supported by over 130 partners and is active in all major industry and services sectors.


Ward Howell International aspires to be the most reputable global leadership consulting firm, for more than 60 years recognized as preeminent in developing partnerships with our clients that consistently exceed their expectations.

We strongly believe in experience-based consulting, i.e. our service is rendered by senior professionals who – on top of having a wealth of experience in executive search – have already been in senior management roles and have decided to change to “the other side of the table”.

Our distinctiveness derives from the quality of our people who share values of entrepreneurship, in depth local expertise, and international collaboration and perspective. We have conducted numerous searches, assessments and evaluations of C-level executives on behalf of our clients and learned about the requirements of different industries.

We have relaunched our firm with a view on the future of consulting. We do not believe that the addition of several local markets, i.e. a consulting concept predominantly based on geography, can be successful. C-level executives these days are highly mobile and move on the corporate chessboard across borders. This calls for an international view on the candidate market.

Ward Howell is organized in industry verticals (practices) – our partners recruit and develop business, both locally and internationally, based on the clients’ needs and client structures, regardless their location. Our 30 offices are serving clients locally and provide access to local candidate markets.


  • People make the difference. It is the experience and the competence of our team which enables us to help our clients and deliver what we promise.
  • We are committed to our clients only – not to external investors or shareholders.
  • Our success is driven by systematic research for every assignment conducted in-house.
  • We are committed to client relationship management – our organization follows clients' needs and not internal structures.
  • We regard ourselves as a global boutique having significantly less off-limits issues as compared to the large search factories.
  • Our partners are used to cross border international consulting.
  • We offer global reach without the constraints of global conformity.