By combining superior communications, a global network, and long term relationships with an unmatched work ethic and recruitment skills, Search Group of San Diego, LLC (SGSD) aims to attract exceptional talent that meets the position criteria defined by clients in a minimal period of time. SGSD strives for excellence to ensure that our search process is thorough, efficient and tailored to meet the needs and requirements of each client. SGSD strives to build long term relationships with candidates and clients based on the core principals of trust, honesty, transparency, integrity, respect, and professional courtesy.

SGSD is a retained executive search firm with a proven track record of accomplishment in completing niche searches in the life sciences serving biotech/pharmaceutical clientele. SGSD employs 5 full-time staff with an average of 15 years of experience. SGSD stands out from our competitors because our operations are concentrated within a single office resulting in maximum production and efficiency, and lower overhead. With this model SGSD is selective with both the clients and specific search assignments we take on, while offering competitive pricing. Because of our small concentration of clients, we have limited restrictions or “hands-off” sources for recruiting top talent. This directly benefits our clients by providing extremely quick access to an almost unlimited pool of talent. SGSD’s client base includes non-profit, hospitals, research institutes, pre-IPO/start-up biotech (1-100 empl), medium sized bio/pharm (400 – 2,500 empl), and large pharmaceutical (>10,000 empl). While the majority of our assignments are for US-based clients, SGSD also recruits for international for clients in Europe and China.

Our team has completed more than 350 search assignments ranging from Associate Director to C-level executives. Our exposure is broad and covers nearly every therapeutic area: Immunology/Autoimmunity/Inflammation, Virology/Infectious Diseases, CNS, Oncology, Cardiovascular/Metabolic – across a number of modalities: small molecules, proteins, mAb, peptides, and vaccines. Because our staff specializes in different areas across R&D, our networks are broad and position us to quickly/easily access talent. This has resulted in completed searches across a number of scientific disciplines including: basic research, preclinical development/pharmaceutical development, translational sciences, early clinical development, clinical development, medical affairs, and business development. SGSD maintains active memberships in a number of scientific organizations including: AMWA, AACR, AAPS, AICHE, ISPE, CRS, RAPS, SFN, ASCO, PDA, ASPET, DIA.





In 1996 Ken Israel began his career as executive recruiter specializing in the life sciences servicing the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, and in 2006 founded Search Group of San Diego (SGSD). Ken is a “people person” who genuinely enjoys meeting new people, learning of their scientific interests, building relationships, and talking science. Ken’s 20-year career and success placing executive level candidates in the life sciences is because of his unwavering commitment to his clients, dedication to following industry trends, and the ability to build long-term relationships based on trust and transparency. To read about individual experiences working with Ken, please see:

Ken is a graduate of California State University, San Marcos with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration. Ken is a San Diego resident and lives in the 4S Ranch area with his wife and 2 children. He is an active participant in his community as a youth soccer coach and holds a Board position on the Del Sur Educational Foundation. Besides his family Ken is passionate about the environment and enjoys going to concerts and eating fine chocolates.



Chris has built a reputation for having his thumb on the pulse of the Pharmaceutical and Biotech industry. Chris takes a highly strategic and research intensive approach for every search he leads. This approach is rooted in the principles of active listening and a sincere interest in building long term relationships with clients and candidates. He works diligently to thoroughly understand each client’s unique needs and preferences in order to launch the most effective search possible and accurately convey information to candidates, thus reducing inefficiencies and miscommunications. In addition to Chris’s meticulous search practices, he believes it is paramount to make himself accessible to candidates throughout the entire recruitment process - from CV submission to offer acceptance and beyond. Chris strives to maintain transparent and open-ended communications and he takes the time to truly understand candidate credentials, career aspirations, and personal situations. This overall approach has proven time and again to be mutually beneficial to clients and candidates.

Chris graduated with academic honors from California State University, San Marcos with a Bachelors degree in Communication. Chris has been playing drums for 20 years and he is an award winning home-brewer. He is dedicated to his family and friends and is a fitness and environmental enthusiast.



Burt Israel has over 35 years of executive recruiting experience in the Pharmaceutical and Hi-Tech Engineering industries. Since 2005 he has worked with The Search Group of San Diego recruiting and placing senior level PhD scientific staff across a multitude of scientific disciplines in top tier Pharmaceutical and emerging biotech companies.

Prior to SGSD, he was Vice President of Telecommunications for National Search Associates for 15 years, the largest search firm in San Diego. He was responsible for placing Engineering professionals including SW and Embedded Engineers, ASIC and DSP designers, RF and Microwave Engineers, Engineering and Manufacturing Managers. Burt was extremely successful filling niche positions with large companies as well as helping small, emerging companies find the right talent to grow.

For 10 years prior, he was with Robert Half Personnel as head of Engineering Recruiting in Hartford, CT, and as the General Manager in San Diego. In Hartford, Burt also worked 10 years for IBM as a Sales and Systems Engineer working with Insurance, Manufacturing and Utility Companies selling and installing large IBM Mainframe computers.

He has a BSME from Carnegie Mellon and an MBA from The University of Hartford. In his free time Burt enjoys time with his five grandchildren, golfing, and world travel.

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Darrin Baker joined Search Group of San Diego in 2011 as an Executive Recruiter. Darrin is responsible for candidate development and has recruited a number of top tier candidates for Pharmaceutical/Biotech clients. Darrin’s professional experience is broad and over the past 20 years includes business development, recruiting and training, call center management, research and investigation, lead generation and marketing spanning multiple industries including Banking, Real Estate, Business Arbitration, Pharmaceutical/Biotech. Darrin has managed teams from 2 – 50 employees. Darrin received his Bachelors in Communications at San Diego State as well as 3 year mentorship with MAP, Executive Management for team building, recruiting, goals and controls. Darrin is a San Diego resident living in Carmel Valley. He enjoys spending time with his 2 boys doing sports and outdoor activities.