The Charles Aris Strategy & Corporate Development Practice celebrates 1,000 completed searches

by Anabella Berti

As of October 2021, the Charles Aris Strategy & Corporate Development Practice reached 1,000 completed searches. Founded almost twenty years ago, this practice has placed current and former consultants from the world’s top consulting firms into a variety of executive roles at leading corporations and private equity firms. This achievement is an important milestone in Charles Aris history and aligns closely with our mission to Change Lives, Transform Businesses and Enrich Communities.


CEO Chad Oakley founded the Strategy & Corporate Development Practice in 2003. Prior to joining the firm, Chad started his career in consulting at Deloitte. He then pursued his MBA at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and upon graduation worked again as a consultant at Bain & Company. After several years in the consulting world, Chad decided he wanted to work with his father, Mitch Oakley, in the family business. Chad reminisced about the early days of the practice, saying that “it was a natural fit for me to do something with my father in executive search and in the strategy and corporate development field.”

Chad initially started the practice working with pre-MBA candidates, but as associate recruiters joined, their searches increased to include more senior positions – all the way up to Chief Strategy Officers. By the time vice president and practice leader Jody Karavanic Bischoff joined the team, the practice was averaging about eight searches a year. “We wanted to be the predominant strategy and corporate development recruiting practice in the country – that was our goal … and we were starting very small,” said Jody.

This practice now has a robust team of leaders that continues to nurture a network of candidates from leading management consulting firms. This practice has placed strategy and corporate development leaders in a wide range of executive-level roles, from startups to Fortune 500 organizations. Vice president and practice leader Ashlee Wagner said candidly that “having thousands of conversations with this type of candidate … we hear that there’s really no other firm out there [that] has the depth in doing what we do.”

To learn more about this accomplishment, watch our latest video with practice leaders from the Strategy & Corporate Development Practice.