Alan Schonberg, founder of MRI and an innovator in search, died this morning, losing his battle with lung cancer. He was 85.
The much admired recruiting pioneer was surrounded by his family when he passed away. The family requests no phone calls or visits now, as they mourn. A celebration of his life will be held in the future.
Schonberg led MRI for 35 years as CEO leaving the post in 2000 when he became chairman, and, three years later, chairman emeritus. During his tenure, Schonberg built MRI from a collection of small employment agencies into the largest search firm franchise in the world.
That alone would qualify Schonberg as an industry leader. But nearly single-handedly, he converted the traditional recruiting practice where the applicant paid for the placement to the employer paid model we have today. He introduced contingent search and formal training to the industry, leveraging the various media as it became available.
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He also co-authored two books, and, became involved in numerous philanthropic activities. So highly regarded was he that when his illness began to be known, cards and letters flowed into the Schonberg home.
His son-in-law’s tribute, published on Fordyce last summer, touched many. In recent weeks, Troed Larson, an MRI recruiter in Scandinavia launched a Facebook page — “Thank You Alan Schonberg” — where memorials to Schonberg and condolences to his family are being posted.