Michael Ballenger

Michael Ballenger

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About Michael

Michael Ballenger is a partner in Caldwell’s San Francisco office, and a member of the Life Sciences & Healthcare Practice. He opened the San Francisco office, as well as established the firm’s Life Sciences Practice.


He specializes in board of director, CEO searches, and officer-level assignments in research, product development and all business functions. During his nearly 40 years in executive search, he has worked with a broad range of clients in all segments of the life science/healthcare products industry. Over the last 15 years, he has focused on work with startup and development-stage companies.

Michael was previously the managing partner of Highland Partners’ San Francisco office and co-leader of the firm’s Life Sciences sector. During his six-year tenure there, he built the company’s first Life Science/Healthcare Products practice. Before joining Highland Partners, he spent 10 years with Heidrick & Struggles, where he built and led the firm’s Healthcare Products practice. Michael began his search career with Howe-Lewis International, a life science boutique.

Michael’s healthcare industry experience includes more than three years as senior director of human resources for Genentech, Inc.; eight years as an executive with American Hospital Supply Corporation, where his last post was vice president of personnel for the Pacific International Division; and five years with Burroughs Wellcome and Co.


Michael is a graduate of California State University in Sacramento and holds an MBA from San Jose State University.

Recent Feedback

Michael Ballenger and Darren Buck were extremely professional, clear and helpful presenting and navigating the job search, screening, interviewing and job offer process. Caldwell’s ‘Position Profile’ and ‘Litmus Test’ documents were well written, thorough and brought total clarity to the career opportunity and the fit both culturally and expertise-wise. I strongly recommend working with Caldwell.” – John Saavedra, Senior Director, International Business

“Exceptional client service from Michael Ballenger and his team: worked with board to generate a deep understanding of the role and profile required to move the company forward; generated very strong candidates (which meant he had to cut through the noise of a highly competitive market for executive talent in our space); managed process deftly; partnered with the board regarding strategy and tactics; advised skillfully regarding negotiation; and did all this under urgent time pressure.” – Chief Executive Officer, American research philanthropic organization

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