Phoenix Executive Group is Expanding. Phoenix acquired Career Intelligence Group ("CIA") of Scotch Plains, NJ. James Marken CIA's former president now affiliated with Phoenix Executive Group. Proof that deception and misrepresentation does indeed pay!
I met with James Marken, the President of Career Intelligence Network ("CIA") a number of times during July and August of 2003. After an interview/meeting lasting some 3 hours, Marken told me CIA could help me take my career to a new level and that I had been mis-focusing my job search efforts to the financial services sector, where my entire career to-date had been spent.
Marken told me that I had to develop a higher level of TRUST in him and his program if I was to be invited to be a client. I told Marken that the only reason I had agreed to meet with him was because his firm was a member of the IACCF, the International Association of Career Consulting Firms. I feared CIA was just another version of Bernard Haldane, of which I had heard horror stories. I told him the only way I would consider moving forward was on a strictly contingent fee basis, that is I would pay the fee once CIA had successfully assisted me in
indentifying a new position.
At our next meeting Marken put before me a draft agreement
which addressed the contingency fee issue, but which requested $5,000+ to cover overhead costs that would be subsequently deducted from any contingency/success fee. He also offerred me the alternative of a one time $25,000 fee for what he termed a life time membership.
After much reflection I agreed to the contingency arrangement figuring CIA would have to continue to assist me until I experienced success, e.g. they couldn't just take the money and run as it would not be in his best economic interest.
First they re-wrote my resume, which I had been told
concentrated too heavily on past acheivements and not enough on what I could contribute prospectively. The resulting "new" resume was in effect quite similar to the one I had when I first met with Marken, if fact some entire phrases and bullet points were transcribed directly from the old document.
Next I was provided with a one page cover letter addressed to retained search firms, and of course the CIA notebook containing what they portrayed as their copyrighted "in house" materials.
The next step was to receive a listing of companies they
felt might be appropriate matches for my historical background and geographic preferences. I was directed to select 20+ companies from the listing and they in turn would develop marketing materials to sell my skills to the appropriate senior executives at those companies. I did as directed and then sent emails when no feedback was forthcoming. My emails to my assigned counselor Charles Coleman went unanswered.
When I copied my emails to James Marken, Marken told me Charles Coleman was away from the office but that he would be getting back to me in a day or so at the very latest. No mention was made of a change of control or a sale of the company.
Now I was 4 weeks into a program that I was hoping would help me. I then learned that CIA had sold out to a competitor Phoenix Executve Group of Parsippany, New Jersey. Coleman, my couselor had been laid off pending a decision as to whether he would be hired by Phoenix, the surviving entity.
When I researched Phoenix on the BadBusinessBureau.com website I found numerous complaints regarding their operation. I had been had. Beware of a wolf in sheep's clothing. It now appears CIA no longer exists in its own right, but James Marken and Phoenix Executive Group do...so Beware!
Frenchtown, New Jersey