Global CEO, Board, Industrial, Digital, and Private Equity Practices
Professional Services & Associations
Suzanne M. Burns is a trusted advisor to numerous public and private company CEOs and Board Compensation and Nominating & Governance Committees, where she shares her knowledge of board best practices, CEO succession planning, insights on deliberate organizational and cultural alignment, and perspective on how to successfully attract and develop diverse talent to drive shareholder value. Ms. Burns is known for elevating strategies and developing winning, executable courses of action. She intuitively sees the threads of opportunity that wind through an organization, brings them together in a cohesive design, and helps others broaden their thinking in the process.
Currently, as a Partner at Spencer Stuart, Ms. Burns is a member of the firm’s Board, CEO, Industrial, Digital Transformation and Private Equity practices. She devotes her time to advising global clients on Board and C-suite talent selection, cultural transformation, and board effectiveness to increase diversity and competitiveness. She also leads the firm’s B2B Distribution and Building & Architectural Product practices. Ms. Burns serves manufacturing and distribution clients around the world, bringing more than 25 years of industrial experience in the areas of P&L leadership and strategic growth leadership.
Prior to joining Spencer Stuart, Ms. Burns served as Chief Talent Officer for W.W. Grainger, Inc. (NYSE: GWW), a global MRO distributor, and led the supply chain and distribution center integration of 11 previously acquired businesses into a new U.S. omni-channel business model. Previously, as President of Fluid Management, a subsidiary of IDEX Corporation (NYSE: IEX), she launched IoT-enabled digital predictive diagnostic technology into DIY big-box channels. Earlier, during her 17 years with Eaton Corporation (NYSE: ETN), she served as President of the $1 billion global electrical Power Quality business following her strategy to acquire Powerware from Invensys and oversaw the integration of $2.2 billion, 15,000-person hydraulic manufacturer Aeroquip-Vickers across 84 facilities worldwide. From 1995 to 1998, as Director, International Development, Ms. Burns headed Eaton’s expansion beyond North America and Europe and established 15 start-up and joint venture investments in Asia and Latin America.
Ms. Burns currently sits on the Board of Directors for Benco Dental, a leading global dental equipment distributor, and as Chair, Growth and Diversification Committee. She also serves on the Executive Committee and as the Chair, Chairperson Selection Committee of the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Vice Chair of the Nominating Committee of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital Foundation, and Co-Chair the Membership Committee for Women Corporate Directors’ – Chicago. She is a member of The Economic Club of Chicago, The Chicago Club, and previously served on the boards of Communities In Schools of Chicago and Leadership Greater Chicago. As Spencer Stuart’s representative on the America’s Board of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) and the National Association of Corporate Directors, she stays abreast of the latest trends in corporate governance. She also serves on AESC’s Diversity Leadership Council. Ms. Burns holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin and an M.B.A. from Case Western Reserve University.