Partners in your vision.

A personal touch, every time, ensures that each search is unique to your requirements and circumstances.

Executive search consultants Howard & O’Brien possess the perfect balance of high-tech with high-touch, providing the deep research and database resources of a global executive search firm with the personal, hands-on service and insight of a boutique search firm. You are guaranteed direct involvement from our partners who have over five decades of combined executive search experience across a wide range of industries, functions, and business structures. This includes niche talent markets ordinary search firms aren’t as comfortable handling.

Each search is different, with our commitment to customize a unique approach that fits your needs and circumstances. We become a partner in your vision, offering a personalized and proactive relationship that emphasizes organizational fit to ensure smooth onboarding and long-term tenure, while protecting your employment brand by treating candidates with respect and follow-through.

We look forward to showing you how our career search consultants can put the power of FIT³® to work for you.

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Commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI)

Howard & O’Brien Executive Search is committed to shaping a diverse workforce that drives operational excellence. We strive to provide a diverse slate of candidates for every search so that our clients can choose the best hire for their organization, not just for today but for tomorrow. 

As a member of the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC), we are proud to support the AESC Diversity Pledge and Code of Professional Practice.

Meet Howard & O'Brien Founder & CEO

Lee Ann Howard

LeeAnn Executive Recruitment Consultants - Howard & O'Brien

Lee Ann Howard is the founder of Howard & O’Brien Executive Search. She identifies candidates for senior general management positions, and specializes in functional assignments in human resources, finance, and sales and marketing. She has extensive expertise in finding successful CEO and other C-suite executives, in addition to key board of director members for both public and privately held companies.

Lee Ann’s effectiveness lies in her ability to immerse herself in organizational culture and gain a thorough understanding of a client’s needs and wants. With her willingness to do deep dives into the personalities of both a client company and a candidate, she optimizes the chances of a perfect fit.

Lee Ann draws on her experience in senior human resources positions with world-class companies, including Nestlé S.A., The DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company, Marion Merrell Dow, and Frito-Lay, Inc., to best serve her clients. She also worked with another executive search firm before striking out on her own to establish her own firm.

Lee Ann is active in both professional organizations and philanthropic endeavors. She is currently on the board of the American Heart Association and the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) Family Business Advisory Committee. She has also served in leadership roles on the boards of the MetroHealth Foundation, the John Carroll University Entrepreneur Association, In Counsel with Women, The Gathering Place, Women’s Community Foundation, and Business Volunteers Unlimited. She is a member of The 50 Club and founded the Conversations with the Board® series, which prepares executive women to serve on boards of directors. Lee Ann is a YWCA Women of Achievement and Crain’s Women of Note honoree. She was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist and has received many awards and honors, including the National Association of Women Business Owners Top Ten Award in Northeast Ohio, the Athena Award, Women of Note, and the Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service.

Lee Ann earned an MS from Baker University and a BA from Truman State University.

Meet Howard & O'Brien Partner

John Scheatzle

John Executive Recruitment Consultants - Howard & O'Brien

John Scheatzle is a partner at Howard & O’Brien Executive Search where he specializes in senior executive search assignments and consulting. John brings extensive experience as a global business leader with broad industry and technical expertise to his role in executive search. Having worked with Howard & O’Brien as a candidate placement, John understands the importance of partnering with both clients and candidates to provide personalized service to ensure the best fit. 

Prior to joining Howard & O'Brien, John led multiple global companies in the performance materials and building products industries. Most recently, he held the position of President, Arcadia Custom, a division of DMC Global, where he was also past President of NobelClad. John has also held business leadership positions at other major Northeast Ohio companies including Materion and Tarkett. His proven ability to strategically grow businesses allows him to identify candidates who have the right skills to meet the unique challenges and goals of each of his clients.

John is active in various professional and community organizations, currently serving on the Harvard Business School Alumni Board, the Advisory Board of the University of Akron College of Business, and as the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Harvard Business School Alumni Club of Northeastern Ohio. He has also served on the board of the United Way of Southern Arizona, co-chaired the Pacesetter Campaign for the United Way of Cuyahoga County, and was on the board of trustees for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.   

John has a BSBA with a major in Finance from the University of Akron. He earned an MBA from Case Western Reserve University and is a graduate of the General Managers Program at the Harvard Business School. 


Howard & O'Brien Executive Search has been recognized with numerous awards such as:

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EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist - Cleveland Region

award athena

Athena Award – in support of developing women leaders

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National Association of Women Business Owners – top 10 Cleveland Chapter

  • - YWCA Women of Achievement
  • - Crain’s Women of Note honoree
  • - Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service
  • - Team NEO Success Award
  • - COSE Top Ten Under Ten Award
  • - Leadership Cleveland Class of 2005