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John J. Keller Partner

John leads Ward Howell’s Innovation & Transformation work with clients. As a consultant and trusted advisor, John finds innovators – game changers who can lead, transform, assess, integrate and grow businesses, teams and cultures.  His high-profile placements have built great brands, turned around iconic businesses, developed high-performance teams and delivered sustained growth.

For two decades John’s work has focused mostly on the Technology, Data, Telecommunications and Media Sectors. His clients have ranged from VC-backed startups and Private Equity portfolio companies to mid-cap businesses and some of the most storied corporations in the world. Today John’s mission has expanded to all businesses and sectors faced with having to innovate or face disruption and potential extinction. John finds leaders who understand how best to leverage high-performance management knowhow with technology and the latest digital, data and AI tools.

The perspective John brings to his work and private discussions with clients stems from two successful decades as a recruiter and advisor of CEOs, CHROs, C-Suite leaders and Boards. His prior roles included nearly a dozen years helping to build the Technology, Media and Telecom practices at Spencer Stuart as a senior partner, as well as the firm’s CEO, Board, Assessment and Intelligence units. Before entering consulting, John was an award-winning journalist for more than a decade. He covered and wrote about some of the era’s biggest stories for The Wall Street Journal—which twice nominated John for the Pulitzer Prize and for which he won the top award from American Society of Newspaper Editors—as well as for BusinessWeek.

Such experience enables John to provide in-depth examination of individuals for leadership positions, state-of-the-art governance and business transformation. He is also a pioneer of using intelligence-gathering techniques to assist in pre- and post-investment situations. In such cases, clients turn to John when they require highly confidential, in-depth understandings of company leadership and cultures before making a potential investment or planning a business combination.