Krishnan Rajagopalan

CEO at Heidrick and Struggles

Krishnan has over 18 years of experience in executive search, having led C-suite and Board level searches for global corporations across all industries, including private equity. He advises clients regularly on digital transformation, leadership, succession planning, governance, culture, and diversity and inclusion. Prior to assuming his current responsibilities, Krishnan led Heidrick & Struggles' global Executive Search division and, before that, he led the firm's Global Technology & Services practice. He has been recognized as one of the “100 Most Influential Executive Recruiters in the World” by Bloomberg Business Week.

Krishnan is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion and gender parity, both for the firm's employees and for its clients. Recently, Heidrick & Struggles pledged that on an annual basis at least half of the Board candidates that are presented to clients in total over the course of the year will be diverse. The firm also partners with organizations like the Paradigm for Parity® coalition and the 30% Club's Future Female Directors program to help close the corporate leadership gender gap and promote gender parity across all levels of organizations.

Before joining Heidrick & Struggles, Krishnan served as a Vice President and Partner with a global management consulting firm, where he focused on strategy, operations, and transformation across a wide range of industries.

Krishnan Rajagopalan's view of the Modern Sales Leader

The “Modern Sales Leader” operates with a holistic view of the business in order to engage customers and drive profitable growth. They think like a CEO with a GM mindset. The market has rapidly shifted from “growth at all costs to “efficient/profitable growth”, and having diverse functional experiences allows for an agile and expansive view of customer solutions.

Gaining exposure to a variety of go-to-market motions is more important than ever as the external marketplace continues to evolve at an increasingly faster pace. Modern sales leaders build operational rigor and processes that can provide scalable, consistent and repeatable results. A deep passion and curiosity for harnessing data and analytics is also essential in accelerating business growth and identifying new opportunities for expansion.

Other critical leadership capabilities include having a high EQ, as well as the ability to communicate clearly and serve as an inspirational, motivational and empathetic leader. Importantly, today's modern sales executives are purposeful and mission-driven and understand the value of having diverse leaders and teams who are expected and able to recruit, develop and retain top talent, and create equitable and inclusive workplace cultures.

The winners are in! Check out the 25 chosen Modern Sales Leaders below!