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Featured Hirenomics Search: Paul Zeller, CFO at NatureWorks

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Featured Hirenomics Search: Paul Zeller, CFO at NatureWorks

For a company that prides itself on sustainable and high-quality products and product development, taking extra care to find equally-sustainable and high-quality leadership was a must. 

Earlier this summer, NatureWorks, an internationally-recognized and fast-growing biopolymer production company based in Minneapolis, engaged Hirenomics to help them in identify a candidate to fill their critical role of Chief Financial Officer. Paul Zeller, former CFO of Imation, has hit the ground running in his new position, working with board members and other executives like CEO Marc Verbruggen on key decisions that will shape the company’s continued growth.

“Paul walked in and had instant credibility on day one,” said Sarah Morari, Global Human Resources Leader at NatureWorks, who helped coordinate the search. “Hirenomics understood our culture and needs and ensured that our new CFO would be the dynamic player we were looking for.”

Zeller’s background was optimal for NatureWorks. The former Imation-CFO understood the complexities of the international market, the potential for growth along a number of different avenues, and the opportunities that arise when developing innovative products, like NatureWorks’ sustainable and biodegrable polymer “Ingeo.” While the transition to NatureWorks was certainly fast-paced and required a lot of on-the-job training, Zeller was enthusiastic about the new opportunity.

“I’m motivated by the chance to learn, and excited to share my background in transitioning a growing company through multiple strategic corporate strategy directions,” Zeller said. “This is a company growing in the double digits. We face big decisions, like the development of a new plant in Thailand, that will ultimately support and influence that growth. We’re making choices about access to capital, product development, marketplace focus, and adding resources now available to us because of this growth.”
The way Hirenomics conducted the search was instrumental in ensuring that the best possible candidate was unearthed for the position. “Hirenomics took the extra time to make sure that we had all the information we needed to make the decision, including optimal communication and a detailed candidate scorecard that was top notch,” Morari said. “In fact, [Hirenomics] and that scorecard in particular transformed the standard to which I now hold my own internal recruiters.”

“Working with a firm opened up the candidate pool for NatureWorks. While some searches are ‘doable’ in-house, it was better that Natureworks expanded their broach search,” Zeller said. “I believe that because [Hirenomics] is such a young company, they had to work that much harder, and my liason was more proactive than any other recruiter I have worked with. I never had to worry about being uninformed.”


Hirenomics, LLC is one of the fastest-growing executive search firms in the Twin Cities – and nationwide. With expertise in the industries of financial services, legal services, and technology, Hirenomics guarantees optimal placement services. The firm has some of the most impressive placement, retention, and diversity statistics in the executive search industry. Hirenomics operates on a retained-search model, and focuses its efforts on fewer clients and more in-depth service. Company leaders Travis J. Lind and Jackie A. Moes joined forces in November 2010 with the vision of providing world-class white glove service unique to each client and candidate they represent, and today the company leaders still oversee each and every search taken on by the firm. Hirenomics’ role-specific, subject-matter experts help companies unearth top talent for key leadership roles including “C-suite” roles and positions at or above the director level. 

If you would like to learn more about how Hirenomics can help with your professional placement needs, please contact us at or at 612-223-7965.