The Korn Ferry Brand Through the Years: A Retrospective

The Korn Ferry Brand Through the Years: A Retrospective

Stepping into virtually uncharted territory, with an understanding of the search business and a mere $10,000 investment, Lester Korn and Richard Ferry founded Korn/Ferry Enterprises—a name that quickly was changed to Korn/Ferry International—in Los Angeles on November 14, 1969.

Korn Ferry has always been a branding innovator. In the early years, our founders invested heavily in marketing and communications, bringing professional recruiting into the mainstream business community and advocating its value. As the firm grew, so too did the array of marketing innovations brought to market. Direct from the Korn Ferry archives are just a few of them.

1973 – Korn Ferry publishes its first Annual Board of Directors Study, a series that will endure for the next 34 years (the longest-running publication of its kind) and be the precursor for today’s Korn Ferry Market Cap 100 report.

1973_1st BOD Study NA_report cover

1978 – In a six-page cover article, Fortune magazine cites Korn Ferry as the leading executive search firm in the world.

1984 – Korn Ferry is selected to recruit the Chief Executive for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Many prominent names are considered but in the end, little-known Southern California businessman Peter Ueberroth is chosen. Under his leadership, the first privately financed Olympic Games generate a profit of $250 million. As a result, Ueberroth is named Time magazine’s Man of the Year, bringing tremendous exposure to Korn Ferry.


1989 – Korn Ferry publishes a provocative joint study with Columbia Business School entitled Reinventing the CEO, with bold predictions about the 21st century CEO such as the need to know “several languages, finance, international economics, history and human resources.”


1997 – Korn Ferry launches its first website with a whopping five pages.

1997 homepage

1998 – Our Futurestep business is launched in a strategic alliance with the Wall Street Journal. Korn Ferry becomes the first search firm to use the Internet to serve the escalating demand for mid-level managers.

fsearlylogo2000 – Korn Ferry launches e-Korn Ferry, the first online executive center for job candidates.

2005 – Korn Ferry purchases Lominger Limited, a provider of leadership development tools, Korn Ferry’s first acquisition outside search and laying the foundation for our expansion into adjacent talent management services. 

2006 kf com homepage (2)

2008 – Korn Ferry launches The Art & Science of Talent, a marketing campaign aimed at promoting the firm’s unique approach to talent management, combining the intangibles of leadership (the “art”) with research-based, statistically-validated assessment tools and development resources (the “science”).


2013 – Korn Ferry evolves once again. Keep checking back on this site for exciting updates soon!

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