Korn Ferry CEO talks slowing economy, new partnership with PGA Tour

On a day the Federal Reserve delivered its decision on interest rates, Korn Ferry CEO Gary Burnison told FOX Business that a weakening global economy will force central banks to be more accommodative.

“The equity markets have run ahead of where the economy is,” Burnison said during an interview with Gerri Willis from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday. “Clearly this quarter has slowed. I think the president’s comments earlier in the year about banks becoming more accommodative is exactly right. Brexit is an issue. It hasn’t been resolved in three years and I don’t think it’s going to be resolved in three months. The trade war has impacted companies. It’s impacted our business in China. It’s impacted American companies.”

Burnison said he has seen clients move more slowly in the marketplace as the economy slows. He declined to comment on company earnings, which are expected to be reported Thursday. Consensus estimates are 88 cents a share. The stock is higher today and up 18 percent year-to-date.

PGA Tour and Korn Ferry announced Wednesday that the executive recruitment and global consulting firm will sponsor the PGA’s U.S. player developmental tour, formerly called "Web.com Tour." The deal spans 10 years, but neither Korn Ferry nor the PGA would reveal terms of the deal.

“Today marks the beginning of a 10-year partnership with Korn Ferry,” said Alex Baldwin, president of the newly named Korn Ferry Tour. “We share a parallel mission together. We’re both focused on the development of talent and this is providing a platform for our players to realize their fullest potential.”

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KFY KORN FERRY 60.01 -0.46 -0.76%

Burnison agreed, saying, “Our purpose as a company is to enable people and organizations to exceed beyond their potential. And the only way you can do that is with opportunity. The Korn Ferry tour is all about opportunity and that’s why we did it.”

Graduates of the program include 2019 U.S. Open winner Gary Woodland, as well as other golf stars such as Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Xander Schauffele and Bubba Watson.  Woodland’s win last weekend marks the 24th major championship won by a Korn Ferry tour player.


Founded in 1990, the tour is owned and operated by the PGA Tour. It features professional golfers who have either not yet reached the PGA Tour, or have done so but then failed to win enough FedEx Cup points to stay at that level.

“It’s our mission to identify, prepare and transition the next generation of PGA Tour stars,” Baldwin said.