Century Group is saddened to announce the passing of one of its co-founders, Don Yaeger, early this month. Yaeger was instrumental in establishing the firm in Los Angeles 30 years ago — as a place where team members are encouraged to apply their individual strengths and experiences toward achieving results for our clients and candidates.
“Don was very good at uncovering the non-financial motivators, the key drivers, for career growth in a job change,” notes longtime colleague and Century Group CEO, Ron Proul. “Something our Century Group Concept embraces today as we match talent to clients’ needs.”
Yaeger began his career in New York City, applying his two master’s degrees in behavioral development and psycho-diagnostic testing to the evaluation of human motivation and potential. Part of his role required him to interview people to understand what makes them tick. He was soon asked to use this unique experience in assisting a major company identify and select a new vice president, ultimately sparking Yaeger’s love for the world of recruiting.
His first job in recruiting was with a firm specializing in the placement of CPAs in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. There, he began honing his unique approach — one that incorporated his educational background into the storytelling style that served him so well over the next 35 years as one of Southern California’s leading executive recruiters.
“Don cared and thought deeply about the chemistry fit of a client and candidate. He could look beyond the quality of a resume and tell you why this person would do well in that environment, for that manager, in that role,” says Dave Liebman, Century Group Director of Executive Search and former colleague of Yaeger. “Don always had candidates who he believed in so much that it was no surprise when he succeeded in placing them.”
In 1989, Yaeger reached out to former colleague, Harry Boxer, about launching a new executive recruiting firm, and the rest was history — Century Group was born. For the next 25 years, he was a top executive recruiter within the firm and a committed teacher of his craft to the dozens of recruiters — new and experienced — that had the privilege of learning from him.
His innate ability to connect with people was integral to his reputation as an original relationship builder. Yaeger believed in finding the right opportunity for each candidate, which remains a core value of the company and key to its continued success.
“Over the last few weeks, many of us have reflected fondly on Don’s personal impact within the firm. His exhaustive approach to understanding each person was something his candidates, clients and colleagues remember about him today, years after his retirement,” Proul says. “He was a good friend and a cornerstone of Century Group. May his memory be a blessing to everyone he knew.”