Female Leaders
Christina Virzí Managing Partner
Christina Virzí

A first mover business model in top executive search: no retainer, success fee only

International selection of female top management talents at your fingertips

Companies only pay when hiring, not when viewing and evaluating the talents

The premier address for ambitious female management talents

Increasing Demand for Female Managers


The debate about the percentage of female executives in German companies reached a climax in 2011 and dramatically increased the demand for female managers. Against the backdrop of a threatened legally binding women’s quota for 2013, the pressure on business to take action has further increased and the tide is turning. While the topic has so far been handled rather defensively by companies, if not completely neglected, it is now at the very top of the priority list. In a voluntary self-commitment, the DAX 30 companies have announced their intention to increase the women’s share in management positions to up to 30 percent.

“We have been campaigning for years for more women on the first and second management level and, during this time, have established contact with female high-flyers across the globe,” says Heiner Thorborg. “Now we are benefiting from a highly qualified circle of female talents.” For years, he had been warning companies about the now apparent bottleneck in staffing top positions with women: “If everybody wants something at the same time, the market is empty soon.”

Now, he has reacted to this extraordinary boost in recruiting and, together with Christina Virzí, they launched “The Female Factor GmbH”, which does not accept search assignments, but proactively offers a qualified selection of female management talents. Companies, therefore, only pay in the case of hiring. Such a business model, which lives purely on a success basis, is an innovation in the executive search market.

Heiner Thorborg will continue to focus on his core business of exclusive, retainer-based executive and non-executive director searches. In this segment, his firm has been competing in the champions’ league in the German-speaking region for over two decades now and, according to Thorborg, “that’s how things should stay for the next ten years, too.”