About us

Signium was founded sixty years ago and is one of the most prestigious executive search firms in the world. Henry Wardwell Howell founded Ward Howell USA (today Signium) in 1951 in New York City as one of the first management-consulting firms focused solely on senior level executive search. In 1979 the international company was founded and named Ward Howell International, Inc. as a subsidiary of Ward Howell USA. In 1982 the name of the international company was changed to Ward Howell International Group, Inc. (also known as “WHIG”). At that time it remained a subsidiary of Ward Howell USA. In 1994 the company reorganized and became owned by the shareholders – the global member.

As one of the founders of AESC (The Association of Executive Search Consultants), it assisted in developing the Ethical and Professional Codes for the sector, still conscientiously maintained in the firm to this day.

Signium has a network of offices strategically distributed in countries across six continents. Although the technical resources and quality standards are the same for each of our offices, the Signium Board is comprised of partners from varying countries, thus representing diversity and the global nature of the firm.  It is our partners who are responsible for managing strategy, communications and teams throughout the organization. In this manner, we achieve consistent quality standards and methodology.

As Signium has developed, we have concentrated on recruiting candidates for top level positions. Signium defines the search for directors as an extension of management consultancy. We know our clients’ business and are aware of movements in the sector as well as projections for the future. We are the eyes and ears of the market, which helps us to prepare companies for the future. We set out to ensure that our clients are able to continue growing in an ever-changing market.


Signium is a member of the AESC (The Association of Executive Search Consultants) and fully subscribes to its codes of ethics. Signium Spain also is a member of the AESC European Council.

Our team of professionals in Spain (Madrid and Barcelona) and Portugal has a successful trajectory in markets worldwide, accumulating in over 400 years of experience, 110 of those in the Executive Search sector.

In 2010 Bao & Partners announced its transition to the Signium brand.