About Chuck Meek & Atticus Bailey

Chu2024_01_24_webck Meek


Wheaton, IL, USA


I launched Atticus Bailey in 2002 as a retained executive search firm, serving family owned businesses by bringing non-family talent onboard to augment and complement the family team.  I coined the concept of FISH Capital® – the four types of capital necessary to run any enterprise: Financial, Intellectual, Social and Human.  Today, my business model is no longer limited to headhunting.  I meet business owners’ needs with FISH Models® that describe in simplest terms how the business should work, FISH Teams® of key lieutenants and FISH Boards® of thought leaders to create strategies for sustainable growth.

I still focus exclusively on private middle market companies, and actively collaborate with other trusted advisors who serve family-owned businesses and business-owning families from complementary perspectives – such as business valuation, ERISA plans, strategic planning, financial planning, wealth management, trust/estate planning, and many others.

My colleagues appreciate my diverse background and perspective as a sounding board for private business owners. I earned my A.B. degree in Russian Studies & Language from the University of Chicago in 1984. I then served as a Naval officer from homeports in the United States and Japan until the end of the Cold War, at which point I returned to Chicago and earned an MBA in Finance in 1992, again from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (now the Booth School of Business).  I still maintain close ties to the University.

During the ’90s, I spent several years in industrial sales and marketing at Emerson Electric before joining the Global Industrial Practice of Heidrick and Struggles, an international executive search firm. It was there I learned the best practices of retained executive recruiting.

A few things I’d like you to know about me:

  • I am Collaborative:   I work seamlessly with clients’ advisors from complementary perspectives to create and implement comprehensive, sustainable growth and succession strategies.  
  • I seek out and surround myself with others who know more than I do. 
  • I take responsibility to act, and keep it regardless of outcome.

I give back to my community in ways that center on my concern for Affordable Housing and Homelessness:  I have volunteered with and/or served as a board director for numerous community-focused organizations, including the Peoples’ Resource Center, The City of Wheaton Housing Commission, the Franciscan Services Housing Ministry, and Public Action to Deliver Shelter – P.A.D.S.

Questions?  Drop me a note:  cbm@atticusbailey.com

Atticus Bailey at a glance

Everything we do is designed to simplify the management,  ownership and transition of the private enterprise whenever possible.  Since we opened our doors in 2002, certain events have become somewhat common in Family Owned Business planning.  We have distilled them down to these 10 steps:


  1. Complimentary Consultation to define the Business Owner(s)’ long term goals for the business, and to discuss the current business model.  No Obligation.  Duration: (≤ 1 day)
  2. FISH Model session to deconstruct the current business model and reconstruct in a streamlined form, tailored specifically to achieve the long term goals.  (1 day)
  3. Strategic Plan to create the template for the leadership team to implement the business model. (1 day)
  4. Executive Search, if necessary, to fill critical gap(s) in the team. (~90 days)
  5. Introduce Subject Matter Experts to implement specific or esoteric improvements. (concurrent with Search)


  1. Meet separately and collectively with family members to discover and align expectations.
  2. Define the Business Owning Family’s collective long term goals.
  3. Assess current plan for transition and succession to achieve the long term goals.
  4. Identify gaps.
  5. Introduce Subject Matter Experts to implement specific or esoteric improvements.

Atticus Bailey, a bit deeper

Atticus Bailey is a collaborative consulting platform for Advisors who specialize in Growth|Transition|Succession|Exit in the Private Middle Market

We help middle market business owners optimize enterprise value and improve returns on their FISH Capital® – the four capital types required to sustain any enterprise: Financial, Intellectual, Social and Human. The results are a sustainable, transferable wealth-creating asset and increased options for the business owner.

With our strategic allies we number more than 150 proven, accomplished professionals located in the Midwest with specific industry and functional expertise in the core verticals of Finance, Operations, Marketing/Sales and Human Resources.

In particular, we specialize in the sub-disciplines within each capital type, including but not limited to –

F  –  Financial Capital (Money):

Business Valuation, Cash Flow Improvement, R&D Tax Credits, ERISA, Qualified Retirement Plans, Executive Compensation, Risk Management, Captive Insurance, Buy/Sell Agreements, ESOPs, M&A Due Diligence and Integration, Investment Banking and more…

I  – Intellectual Capital (What & How: The Product or Service Offering  – Operations)

Business Modeling, Strategic Planning, Lean, Process Improvement, Six Sigma, Supply Chain Management, Strategic Alliances, Key Partnerships, Strategy Boards and more…

S – Social Capital ( For whom – the Market):

Business Development, Growth Strategy, Marketing Strategy, International Markets, SEO, Marketing Communications, Branding Strategy and more…

H  – Human Capital (Who does it – People):

Retained Executive Search & Recruiting, Interim or Project Management in Finance/Ops/Marketing & Sales/Human Resources, Leadership Succession Planning, Performance Coaching, Employee Benefits, PEO Services and more…

For every Family Owned Business there is at least one Business Owning Family;  for them we offer counsel on family dynamics and related matters that arise as a result of owning and leading a family enterprise, such as Transition Planning, Wealth Management, Estate & Trust Planning, Philanthropy and more…

Do you need to tune up your business’ wealth creation engine?  Attract/Retain key talent?  Plan your transition?

Let’s talk it over.  No obligation… and the coffee’s on me.

Atticus Bailey is a division of Hacha Products Corp, a certified Minority-Woman Owned Enterprise.

Two reasons the traditional search fee model works against the client…

The custom is well established for retained search firms to calculate their fee as a percentage of the new hire’s compensation. It is a carryover from the days when only large corporations retained large search firms and the fees were impersonal line items in big budgets.

Today smaller, family-owned firms regularly use retained search consultants, and the traditional pricing policy has carried over with it. But the percentage model is actually counter to the client’s interests for two reasons:

1. If the fee is a percentage of compensation, it is in the search firm’s interest to present candidates with the highest price tags over viable, qualified candidates who could be landed for less;

2. It forces the client to minimize costs by out-negotiating the new hire, which starts the new working relationship off in an adversarial stance. At best, no harm is done; at worst (and more likely), someone feels like they ‘lost’ and emotion gets a toe-hold on Day 1.

If your search consultant’s fee is based on the new hire’s compensation, ask for a flat fee instead, based on the mutually expected complexity and difficulty of the engagement. If they resist, probe further: why is a comp-based fee in both parties’ best interest? I’d appreciate hearing their rationale…

So where do YOU want to go?

[Alice asked the Cheshire Cat:] “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“ I don’t much care where -“ said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“-so long as I get somewhere,” added Alice as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “ if only you walk long enough.”
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland