Fred Adair_Web_background_image



I was raised in North Carolina, the oldest son of a trained classical pianist and a Marine Corps fighter pilot, each of whom was the first in their respective families to go to college.  I was sent to prep school in the Northeast at Phillips Academy-Andover (plucked out of public school in Durham by my music teacher, who had sent her sons to Andover), and my life took one of those lucky turns that makes all the difference…


I received my undergraduate degree in English and American Literature from Harvard, an MBA from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, and attended the Graduate Student Professional Development Program at NTL.


I have had an extensive career in consulting and management.  For 17 years I was a consultant and Partner at Mercer Management Consulting (now Oliver Wyman), where I led the firm’s Organizational Performance practice through the early ‘90s.  In 1998 I left Mercer MC to join the top management team of a rapidly growing private equity-backed consumer products company, as head of Human Resources and Organizational Performance.  I rejoined Mercer in 2001 as a Partner at Mercer Delta Organization and Leadership, was recruited to Heidrick & Struggles in 2005 as a founding Partner in its Leadership Consulting practice, and went into private practice in 2009.

Advisor / Board Service

I have served as strategic advisor to a number of startups over the years including Ninth Decimal, Qstream, Rifiniti, Testive and oddball.

My board service has included newSprout Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing mobile and web applications for charity with a focus on the oceans, and Arts | Learning, a non-profit organization working to position the arts as central to effective education.