Meet Dan Mihnea Badiu

VP EMEA as well as Executive Search Consultant in Romania

Romania has a population of ca 20 million inhabitants. Most of the people live in the South and the Eastern part, but also in the North West. Most people speak Romanian which is a romance language. Biggest city is the capital Bucharest with more than 2 million inhabitants. The Carpathian Mountains is in the center off the country with mountains as high as 2,544 meters and surrounded by good agricultural land.

Romania biggest export markets are Germany, Italy, France and their neighbors Hungary, Poland and Bulgaria. Romania is the number 39th export market for Sweden and Sweden is number 23rd import market for Romania. Romania export from and import to Sweden is about 5 billion SEK. Most big Swedish companies are established in Romania and about 13,000 people are employed in Swedish owned companies.

What is your background and what attracted you to make a career change into becoming an Executive Search Consultant?

Actually I got in this industry by chance, right after graduating from university, back in 1999. The local economical landscape was completely different – you have to keep in mind that Romania was still struggling towards a normal, open economy, as at that point we were freed from the communist regime for just 10 years. From that point on, with a break of 3 years (when I worked as an internal HR), my entire career was in Executive Search, which I really love!

What are your own focus areas as Executive Search Consultant?

The market conditions in Romania did not allow so far to focus on a certain industry or Job functions so I can say that after many years, I am a generalist – I had the opportunity of completing successfully hundreds of searches in Automotive, IT&C, FMCG, Constructions, Chemicals on basically all job functions.

What can you tell us about AIMS International in Romania?

We started our journey in 1992, being one of the first Recruitment companies established in Romania. The first office was opened in Bucharest and soon after, the Timisoara office followed, allowing us to cover the entire territory in a more consistent manner. We helped more and more international clients and 2002 we became AIMS International Romania.

In time, the two offices (Bucharest and Timisoara) start to specialize, according to better served our local market; while in Bucharest our teams main services are Executive Search and Talent Management, the team at the office in Timisoara is well-known for its salary surveys (targeted especially on the Automotive, SSC/BPO and IT&C industries), training and coaching business.

What is Romania’s economy like?

After the rough period of the 90’s, the Romanian economy was on a constant rise, being one of the countries with the highest increase rates in the European Union (current ranking is 12th by nominal GDP and 7th largest when adjusted by purchasing power parity).  In 2020, Romania’s GDP per capita in purchasing power standards reached 72% of the European Union average, up from 44% in 2007, the highest growth rate in the EU27.

If we are to name only a few of the most developed industries, I would point out to the Automotive Industry (with 2 producers, Renault / Dacia and Ford, followed by hundreds of automotive spare parts producers), IT&C (with hundreds of software development firms) or SSC/BPO’s (many of the large, multinational companies decided to open their Shared Service Centers here, due to the highly skilled labour force combined with very good foreign language skills). And I believe that, besides the industries already mentioned, the list of industries well developed here is quite impressive!

How would you describe the Executive Search market in Romania?

I would describe it as an overcrowded and highly competitive one – many competitors fighting over a relatively small market (as per the information I have, it does not exceed 5 million euros/year). To make matters more complicated, many decision makers still do not make a clear distinction between Executive Search services and general Recruitment ones, so in many instances the decisions are made mainly based on the fees and not on the seniority and expertise of the consultants.

What is the most important advice for a foreign company who wish to invest, establish or increase their presence in Romania?

I believe that the market still offers good opportunities and we are not yet in a crisis of resources when it comes to Top and Mid Management candidates.

What I think is of the utmost importance is to make a proper due diligence of the market before entering it, in order to align the expectations with local realities.

We had the opportunity of supporting some new comers from the moment they were just considering Romania as a good country to invest in – we were able to offer information regarding the labor market but not only (offering support in finding offices, legal services, accounting services, through our local network and partners).

Like many of our Eastern European colleagues in AIMS International we can see a trend after de pandemic, that international companies are moving production back to Europe to the set up new sites. See previous interviews with Judit Simonyi Managing Partner at AIMS International Romania and Šarūnas Dyburis Managing Partner at AIMS International Lithuania.

You are the VP EMEA – AIMS International – what are the challenges in this region and what are the strongest trends you see moving forward when it comes to finding and keeping top talent?

My area of coverage as VP EMEA covers mainly the Central and Southeast part of Europe. What I found interesting is that, although we are basically neighboring countries and we face some common challenges, each country has its own, specific challenges (market development speed, types of business opportunities, etc).

Nevertheless, I like to see this area as a united one with much potential for the future – after all, many of us have the same background (with quite fresh free markets after decades of communism), sharing the same kind of dynamics and transformation. In addition, many of the international hubs of our customers are located here and I believe we could do an even better job in cross-country development. Dan Mihnea Badiu

Daniel Minhea Badiu

Map of Romania in Europe


Göran has been active as an Executive Search consultant since 2012 and has had the privilege to help clients in different industries with leadership and specialist assignments. Since 2013 he has worked in an international context. Göran works on assignments at mainly top and middle management levels and in various specialist roles, with extra focus on IT, FMCG/Consumer and Life Science.

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