Rice Executive Leadership Team

Gene Rice, Chairman, Co-Founder & CEO

The Chairman and Co-Founder of Rice Cohen International, Gene Rice, has been in the recruiting industry for nearly 30 years and has been recognized as one of the top Executive Search professionals in the world. He has completed over 1,000 retained searches which have included 211 in the C-suite. Having also filled over 300 Partner, Principal, and Director level searches in the Management Consulting, Performance Improvement, and EdTech verticals, Gene is considered to be the #1 search executive in the space. He has even been recognized by Recruiter.com as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the History of the Executive Recruiting Industry.”

Gene also co-founded Rice Cohen Training & Consulting, the largest training firm focused on improving the skills of executive recruiters. Their training series, “The 25 Common Traits of the Big Billers”, was developed after interviewing over 400 top executive recruiters and has been used by over 2,300 companies worldwide. Gene is very passionate about this space and believes in supporting the industry he loves. He has become an Executive Coach to the CEO’s of many search firms.

Gene’s working career began while attending St. John’s University in New York. Starting as a bartender, he grew to manage and eventually own Rock & Roll clubs on Long Island. He prided himself on only booking original acts and some of the bands he had play live included The Ramones, Stray Cats, Richie Havens, Bo Diddley, Herman’s Hermits, Joan Jett and Cyndi Lauper. After getting engaged to Michele he decided to leave the club business and pursue a career in corporate America. He joined a division of Alcatel, an international Fortune 100 firm, where he was promoted four times in a six-year span and eventually grew to be one of their Senior Executives responsible for hundreds of employees.

As an active member of the community, Gene finds various ways to give back and contribute. He created a summer internship program at RCI that hires college students each year whom he enjoys the opportunity to share “Gene’s Life Lessons” with on a weekly basis. He also has volunteered his time to coach an AAU basketball team that was sponsored by Under Armour and from which seven players received full scholarships to college. Gene carries a strong belief that successful people have an obligation to give back and allocates time each week for pro bono calls as an Executive Coach. After years of being involved with the Make-a-Wish Foundation and serving on the board, Gene and his wife Michele founded the Plant A Seed, Inspire A Dream Foundation. This is a 501 c-3 non-profit that helps to allow financially challenged youth to pursue their passions. Since being founded in 2008, the foundation has awarded over 700 scholarships and has been featured in People Magazine

In his current role as Chairman of Rice Cohen International, Gene is responsible for strategy, innovation, and international expansion.

Douglas De Almo,
Managing Partner

Douglas De Almo has a professional background of in both law and human resources. Before entering the executive search industry, he practiced corporate law internally for a Fortune 100 insurance company and the world’s largest lottery and gaming operator. He then entered private practice, where he concentrated on mergers and acquisitions, employment law and non-profits. He also spent two years working internally in the human resources department of a Fortune 100 company.

At Rice Cohen International, Doug is a Partner who specializes in senior level searches in the management consulting, health care consulting, and education space. He has completed hundreds of senior level searches within these spaces while establishing himself as a trusted partner to his clients.

In addition to his duties as an executive recruiter, Doug serves as General Counsel and a Board Member of Plant-A-Seed Inspire a Dream Foundation. PAS is a non-profit organization, which strives to ensure that underprivileged children can pursue their hobby or passion, despite their financial hardships. He also volunteers his time to local youth baseball leagues and other organizations.

Doug received his law degree from Boston College Law School and is an active member of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island bars. Prior to that, he graduated from the University of Maryland with degrees in Economics and Political Science, as well as a minor in Spanish.  He lives in the New Hope, PA area with this wife and three children.

Makenzie Lauren,
Managing Partner

Makenzie joined RCI in 2004 as a Research Assistant. After four successive promotions and over 100 successful senior level placements, she began leading Rice Cohen’s Internal Performance Improvement Practice. Makenzie is responsible for leading the team that works in the internal HR/Learning/Talent space. This group places individuals in HR and Talent and Learning positions within Fortune 1000 organizations. Her team has led the completion of searches for Chief HR Officers, Chief Learning Officers, and other internal positions in OD, Learning, and training solutions

In her spare time, Makenzie values giving back to the community. She is the Treasurer for the Plant a Seed Inspire a Dream Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides underprivileged children with the opportunity to pursue their passions while interacting with positive role models. She is also involved with a number of other local non-profits.

Makenzie has been specializing in the Human Resources and Talent/Learning space since for the past 8 years. She is certified in behavior-based interviewing, and has used that knowledge, along with RCI’s 25 Step Search and Selection Process to fill a range of positions in this space – from mid level to ‘C’ level. She completed her B.S. in Finance graduating Summa Cum Laude from Drexel University and stayed at Drexel to receive a Masters in Business Administration.

Owen Rice,
Managing Partner

Owen started with Rice Cohen International in 2010. As a Partner, Owen conducts Board-Level, C-Suite and Partner-Level retained executive searches. He specializes in working with clients in the following industries: EdTech, Higher Education, Management Consulting, Corporate Learning, and Private Equity/Venture Capital. Clients that partner with Owen compliment his sector expertise and strategic approach along with his unique ability to build relationships with both clients and candidates. He is often referred to as a trusted advisor by those he partners with.

Before his career in retained search, Owen worked for Vanguard, one of the world’s largest investment managers. He was selected to be a part of the Vanguard Accelerated Development Program, a rotational, leadership development program that helps participants prepare for a career in investment analysis, people leadership, or client relationship management including sales and financial planning. The program is highly selective, with roughly 20 high-potential participants selected from thousands of applicants. He holds series 7 & 63 licenses in addition to passing Level 1 of the CFA exam, one of the world’s most difficult professional examinations.

Owen has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a Philadelphia-native and is passionate about the city’s professional sports teams, especially the Eagles and 76ers. Outside of work he enjoys playing golf, basketball, and spending time in Ocean City, NJ.

Client Testimonials

I’ve had the opportunity to work with Rice Cohen many times, both as a candidate and as a client. As a candidate they always made me feel important by being responsive to my questions and willing to coach me, especially when I was not selected. As a client they helped my firm prioritize our needs and, by providing us with feedback from candidates, they helped to improve our internal process. All things considered, they were excellent on both fronts!

Walt Zeglinski, CEO, Performax ROI