James E. Challenger
Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. is the nation’s first, oldest and premier
outplacement consulting firm.
Founded in the early 1960s, the firm’s primary goal is to assist displaced workers
make the transition to reemployment. It has a proven record of success, conducting
fully individualized programs and one-on one consulting for each individual who
participates in the process. The firm’s clients find new jobs in a median time of
3.2 months compared to the five months cited by the Wall Street Journal as the average
The company achieves these results through an operating philosophy that places emphases
in the importance of the job interview and going out and attacking the job market
rather than mailing letters, sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring with
job offers that may never come. Clients are counseled on the necessity of daily
interviewing as the means to successful reemployment.
The firm has offices in major cities across the nation in addition to Canada and
overseas, which expands the company’s ability to assist individuals who conduct
regional and/or national job searches.
At Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the counseling and sales functions are separated,
with a full-time professional staff which does counseling only, rather than sales
executives who function as counselors when they have time. It assures that the client
works one-on-one with a counselor who is readily available and is not distracted
by making sales calls.
Challenger also maintains the most sophisticated and proactive system of client
follow-up in the industry.
The company’s first goal is to treat each client as an individual, meeting that
person’s specific needs and objectives.
The second goal is to guide and support the individual throughout the job search
from the time of termination until reemployment.
In recent years, Challenger’s mission has grown to include advising organizations
and their employees on recognizing, addressing and managing the constant barrage
of changes affecting their workplaces today. Through change management and executive
coaching it is helping organizations face such daunting challenges as unifying disparate
corporate cultures following a merger and juggling various management styles in
an increasingly multi-generational workforce.
John A. Challenger
Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. was founded by James E. Challenger, regarded
as one of the nation’s foremost authorities on finding employment. His syndicated
“Job Hunt” column appears weekly in newspapers across the country. His innovative
and effective advice is based on nearly 40 years of jobs-search counseling experiences
with professionals in all fields.
Mr. Challenger holds an A.B. degree from Harvard University and a J.D. degree from
Northwestern University Law School. He has authored three books, including Outplacement,
a standard reference for human resource professional; Secrets of the Job Hunt; and
The Challenger Guide, Job Hunting Success for Mid-Career Professionals.
John A. Challenger is chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas,
Inc. He may be one of the most oft-quoted business executives. His breadth of knowledge
on corporate practices, workplace issues, the economy, and societal trends is sought
out by major broadcast and print media.
John Challenger served on the labor/human resource committee of The Federal Reserve
Bank of Chicago from 1999-2002. In 1998, 2001, and 2003, he delivered addresses
before the World Future Society. He has also addressed the annual conference of
the Ethics Officers Association and conferences of leading business executives in
Japan in 2001 and 2003. In 2002, at the height of the turmoil over corporate governance,
The Wall Street Journal invited Mr. Challenger to address the issue in a bylined
article that appeared in The Journal on June 25, 2002.
In 2003, John Challenger gave testimony in 2003 before the U.S. House Committee
on Small Business on the issue of permanent job loss in a global economy. Mr. Challenger
is very active in several business and charitable organizations in the Chicago area
where he resides with his wife and five children.