• Summary

    Experienced executive search and leadership consultant

    Darren is the Founder and Managing Director of Challis & Company. He has led many successful searches for non-executive directors, CEOs, country managers and other senior executives across a range of industries particularly media, digital, consumer, financial services, professional services and private equity. He has also completed many management assessments and board reviews.


    Before founding Challis & Company, Darren worked for a number of years as a consultant with DH International—founding and building a highly regarded, nine-person practice in its first two years—and Egon Zehnder.


    Prior to his executive search career, Darren worked as a corporate and finance lawyer with Minter Ellison. He then worked as a Consultant and Project Leader at The Boston Consulting Group, leading a number of strategy projects for large Australian and global clients. Darren then joined Fairfax Media Limited [ASX: FXJ], initially as Director, Commercial Strategy and subsequently as Group Director, New Media Development. During his time at Fairfax, he led the company’s digital M&A process, leading to several successful acquisitions including Trade Me, RSVP and Stayz. Darren also served as a non-executive director on the board of a venture capital-backed ASX-listed company.


    Darren holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours from The University of Sydney. He also graduated with a full-time MBA at the Australian Graduate School of Management, completed on exchange to the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.


    Over the years, Darren has also served on a number of community boards. He has twice been elected to the University Council at The University of New South Wales, its governing body, where he also served on the University’s Finance Committee and Planning Committee, and as a Governor of its Alumni Association.

  • Experience

    Challis & Company

    Managing Director 2012 - Present

    Managing Director of Challis & Company.

    Challis & Company works with Boards, CEOs and senior managers of listed corporations, multinationals, mid-sized companies, professional service firms, private equity firms, government-owned corporations and not-for-profits

    With a spike in executive search and board search, Challis & Company has an outstanding track record in helping our clients in the recruitment of their senior executive and non-executive talent

    DH International

    Founding Managing Director, Australia & New Zealand 2010 - 2012

    Founding Managing Director of DH International, the Australian/New Zealand subsidiary of DHR International, Inc., the global executive search firm headquartered in Chicago

    Built a well-regarded team of nine focused on the talent acquisition of senior executive and Board for Boards and CEOs across a range of industries

    Developed client relationships and successfully executed on searches across a number of industries particularly media, technology, consumer goods, private equity and professional services

    Egon Zehnder

    Consultant 2006 - 2010

    Talent acquisition and development advice to boards and CEOs across a range of industries particularly media, technology, consumer goods, retail and services

    Lead consultant on numerous executive searches, management appraisals, non-executive director searches and board reviews

    The University of New South Wales

    Council Member Jul 1998 - Jun 2008

    Member of the University Council, the University's ultimate governing body

    Initially elected as a Postgraduate Member and then as a Graduate Member

    The Sydney Morning Herald

    Contributor 2005 - 2007

    Articles and reviews with a consumer technology focus

    Mooter Media

    Non-Executive Director 2006 - 2006

    Non-Executive Director for this start-up developer and provider of Internet advertising targeting tools and intelligent clustering technology for organising search results

    Fairfax Media

    Group Director, New Media Development 2005 - 2006

    Driving digital strategic agenda, including responsibility for digital corporate development. Led a number of successful acquisitions including RSVP.com.au, Trade Me and Stayz

    Fairfax Media

    Director, Commercial Strategy 2004 - 2005

    Leader of the Strategy and Corporate Development team for the largest revenue division including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Fairfax Digital and Group Magazines

    The Boston Consulting Group

    Project Leader 2002 - 2004

    Strategic advisor, value analyst and change agent for boards and CEOs of global and Australasian companies

    The Boston Consulting Group

    Consultant 1998 - 2002

    Strategic advisor, value analyst and change agent for boards and CEOs of global and Australasian companies

    Minter Ellison

    Solicitor 1993 - 1998

    Trusted advisor to major companies and investors on a range of corporate, commercial and regulatory issues, primarily in telecommunications and media

    Australian Macworld (IDG Communications)

    Consulting Editor 1986 - 1997

    Contributed over 200 articles, including numerous feature stories and three flagship monthly columns, including "The Joy of Mac"

    Also freelance journalism for several Australian and US publications

    Invited speaker at Australian and US conferences; several radio interviews

  • Skills

    Executive Search

    Leadership Consulting

    Succession Planning

    Board Reviews

    Non-Executive Director Search

    Management Consulting

  • Education

    Australian Institute of Company Directors

    Company Directors Course 2007 - 2007

    The Australian Institute of Company Directors is Australia's leading membership body for directors in Australia and the leading Australian not-for-profit corporate governance organisation.I=

    Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

    Master of Management 1999 - 1999

    Exchange from Australian Graduation School of Management

    Australian Graduate School of Management

    Master of Business Administration 1998 - 1999

    Full-time MBA degree jointly awarded by The University of New South Wales and The University of Sydney

    Activities: Elected Postgraduate Member, University Council; Member, University Council Planning Committee; Member, University Council Student Affairs Committee; Board Member, Student Guild; Board Member, Postgraduate Board

    High Court of Australia

    Admitted as a Solicitor 1996 - Present

    Supreme Court of New South Wales

    Admitted as a Legal Practitioner 1994 - Present

    University of Technology, Sydney

    College of Law, Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice 1994 - 1994

    Professional legal qualification. 

    University of Sydney

    Bachelor of Laws (First-Class Honours) 1989 - 1993

    Activities: Editor, Sydney Law Review

    University of Sydney

    Government & Public Administration, Bachelor of Arts 1989 - 1991

    Sydney Grammar School

    Higher School Certificate 1978 - 1988

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