John T Cizek, Jr. 1933 – 2021
I had the honor of working with my father for over 20 years. He was a force in the world of retained executive search, serving clients nationally in both the private and public sectors. Early in my search career, he taught me most everything I needed to know about the industry. Once I started Cizek Associates in the summer of 1992, it took me over a year to convince him to leave his own firm in Chicago and join me at CAI. He used to tell people it took him that long to get used to the idea of working for his daughter. People always thought the firm was his, I really liked letting that impression prevail.
John’s over fifty-five years’ experience in Human Resource work encompassed functional leadership responsibilities with manufacturing companies and retained executive search firms, including individual assessment, succession planning, intermediate to senior level recruiting, and business development.
Prior to joining Cizek Associates, and except for a four-year period when he was recruited back into corporate Human Resource management with the Marmon Group, a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate, he had spent thirty-five years in retained executive search. As a founding Vice President with A.T. Kearney, and subsequently with Erwin Associates and his own firm, he handled search assignments ranging from company presidents and general managers to functional heads in sales, marketing, operations, finance, and human resources. His early experience included individual assessment work, employment and recruiting, and divisional personnel management in manufacturing firms, including R.R. Donnelley & Sons in Chicago.
John had a M.A. Degree from the State University of Iowa, with a course concentration in experimental psychology, aptitude and personality assessment. His undergraduate B.S. Degree was from the University of Illinois, with majors in psychology and general science.
He was the kind of person who always gave more than he received and he wanted it that way. He believed nothing was more important in life than the quality of your relationships. John was a special person who lived a life full of adventure (he was a private pilot and flew his plane often to client and interview locations) and who brightened the lives of so many others. We will remember his kindness, his positive and inspirational influence, his intelligence, the great conversations, all of the laughter, and his big, generous heart. As I say goodbye to a legend and my best friend, I know he is jubilantly peaceful.