Scott Peterson, newly named senior practice director of retained executive search at Versique, is working to fill chief executive and other senior-level roles for the Minneapolis-based recruiting and consulting firm.

Peterson, who has more than two decades of experience in executive recruiting, said he is taking a systematic approach to expanding Versique’s retained executive search efforts in partnership with the firm’s other search practices.

“We’re basically leveraging what we’ve already done and building on the foundation of the placements that we’ve made at some great companies into a practice in and of itself and growing a team to deliver that practice,” Peterson said.

Peterson is focusing on placing candidates in chief financial officer, chief information officer and chief operating officer roles in addition to chief executive. The practice covers a variety of industries and clients ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies.

“We hope that this drives business to our other divisions as well,” Peterson said. “As you do a good job and place senior-level people and then they have needs below them. We want those clients to think of us when they think about their future needs.”

Peterson, who has an accounting degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, previously was founder of an executive search firm and managing partner of a national search firm. He also has worked in finance and controller roles.

Versique, one of the largest executive recruiting firms in the Midwest, has a dozen practice areas including marketing, engineering, finance and accounting, and sales.

Q: What appealed to you about this opportunity?

A: It’s a boutique firm but it’s big enough to have experts in health care, consumer packaged goods, engineering and manufacturing. It’s a distinct advantage to be nimble and quick but have functional expertise in areas from [information technology] to human resources to manufacturing and all the other practices.

Q: What’s your approach to executive retained search?

A: I want to be known for going into an organization and hearing what their needs are and understanding not only the job [specifications] but how those fit in within the organization. I love to go in and learn what the company does before they tell me what position they have available because that tells me about the passion of the organization and what they’re trying to deliver.

Q: What’s the market like now for executive retained search in the Twin Cities?

A: The climate is good and it’s driven on this economy right now. Talent is hard to find at every level so being a consultant to an executive-level search process becomes more critical because candidates are more passive today. Companies are doing so well there are a lot more opportunities.