Quiver Quantitative

Risk Factors Dashboard

Once a year, publicly traded companies issue a comprehensive report of their business, called a 10-K. A component mandated in the 10-K is the ‘Risk Factors’ section, where companies disclose any major potential risks that they may face. This dashboard highlights all major changes and additions in new 10K reports, allowing investors to quickly identify new potential risks and opportunities.

Risk Factors - KFY

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Item 1A. Risk Factors

The discussion below describes the material factors, events, and uncertainties that make an investment in our securities risky, and these risk factors should be considered carefully together with all other information in this Annual Report, including the financial statements and notes thereto. It does not address all of the risks that we face, and additional risks not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also arise and impair our business operations. Our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected by the occurrence of any of these risks. Our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected by any of these risks.

Risks Related to Our Business

We face various risks related to health epidemics, pandemics, and similar outbreaks, such as COVID-19. COVID-19 has been negatively impacting the operations and financial performance of many of the clients we serve. The ultimate magnitude of COVID-19 and of any future pandemics or similar outbreaks, will depend on a variety of factors, including its duration, related restrictions and operational requirements that apply to our business and the businesses of our clients, and the state of the global economy, the full extent of which cannot be predicted at this time.

Our business and financial results have been, and could be in the future, adversely affected by health epidemics, pandemics, and similar outbreaks. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused, and is expected to continue to cause, a global slowdown in economic activity, a decrease in demand for a broad variety of goods and services, disruptions in global supply chains, and significant volatility and disruption of financial markets. Because the severity, magnitude and duration of the pandemic and its economic consequences are uncertain, vary by region, are rapidly changing and difficult to predict, its full impact on our operations and financial performance, as well as its impact on our near-term ability to successfully execute our strategic objectives, remains similarly uncertain and difficult to predict. Further, the pandemic’s ultimate impact depends in part on many factors not within our control and which may vary by region

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(heightening the uncertainty as to the ultimate impact COVID-19 may have on our operations and financial performance), including (1) restrictive governmental and business actions (including travel restrictions, work from home requirements, and other workforce limitations), (2) economic stimulus, funding and relief programs and other governmental economic responses, (3) the effectiveness of governmental actions, (4) economic uncertainty in key global markets and financial market volatility, (5) levels of economic contraction or growth, (6) the impact of the pandemic on health and safety, (7) the pace of recovery if and when the pandemic subsides, including the rollout of vaccines, and (8) how significantly the number of cases increases as economies begin to open up and the restrictive governmental and business actions referred to above are relaxed.

Further, the COVID-19 pandemic has subjected our operations and financial performance to a number of risks, including those discussed below, which may also re-occur in any future pandemic:

Operations-related risks: Across all of our businesses, we are facing increased operational challenges including a heightened need to protect employee health and safety, office shutdowns, workplace disruptions, cybersecurity risks, and restrictions on the movement of people, both at our own offices and at those of our clients and our suppliers. In addition, as we start to re-open offices in certain jurisdictions, we face additional employee health and safety concerns.

Client-related risks: Our clients have been and will be disrupted by quarantines, fluctuations in their financial condition, and restrictions on employees’ ability to work and office closures. Such disruptions have and may continue to restrict our ability to provide products and services to our clients (or for clients to pay for such products and services) and have also and may continue to reduce demand for our products and services.

Employee-related risks: We have experienced and will experience disruptions to our operations resulting from quarantines, self-isolations, or other movement and restrictions on the ability of our employees to perform their jobs that may impact our ability to deliver our products and services in a timely manner or meet milestones or customer commitments.

Liquidity- and funding-related risks: A prolonged period of generating lower revenue could adversely affect our cash flow and liquidity. Conditions in the financial and credit markets may also limit our ability to draw on our revolving credit line, as well as the availability of additional funding or increase the cost of funding, if it were to become necessary.

Our inability to successfully recover should we experience a disaster or other business continuity problem could cause material financial loss, loss of human capital, regulatory actions, reputational harm or legal liability.

Should we experience a disaster or other business continuity problem, such as an earthquake, hurricane, terrorist attack, security breach, power loss, telecommunications failure or other natural or man-made disaster, our continued success will depend, in part, on the availability of our personnel, our office facilities, and the proper functioning of our computer, telecommunication and other related systems and operations. In such an event, we could experience near-term operational challenges with regard to particular areas of our operations. In particular, our ability to recover from any disaster or other business continuity problem will depend on our ability to protect our technology infrastructure against damage from business continuity events that could have a significant disruptive effect on our operations. For example, much of our corporate staff are based in California, which has a high level of risk from wildfires and earthquakes. The impacts of climate change may heighten or exacerbate the occurrence of such events. We could potentially lose client data or experience material adverse interruptions to our operations or delivery of services to our clients in a disaster. A disaster on a significant scale or affecting certain of our key operating areas within or across regions, or our inability to successfully recover should we experience a disaster, pandemic or other business continuity problem, could materially interrupt our business operations and cause material financial loss, loss of human capital, regulatory actions, reputational harm, damaged client relationships or legal liability.

We are limited in our ability to recruit candidates from certain of our clients due to off-limit agreements with those clients and for client relation and marketing purposes; such limitations could harm our business.

Either by agreement with clients, or for client relations or marketing purposes, we are required to or elect to refrain from, for a specified period of time, recruiting candidates from a client when conducting searches on behalf of other clients. These off-limit agreements can cause us to lose search opportunities to our competition. The duration and scope of the off-limit agreement, including whether it covers all operations of the client and its affiliates or only certain divisions of a client, generally are subject to negotiation or internal policies and may depend on factors such as the scope, size and complexity of the client’s business, the length of the client relationship and the frequency with which we have been engaged to perform executive and professional searches for the client. We cannot ensure that off-limit agreements will not impede our growth or our ability to attract and serve new clients, or otherwise harm our business.

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We face significant competition: competition in our industries could result in lost market share, reduced demand for our services, and/or require us to charge lower prices for our services, which could adversely affect our operating results and future growth.

We continue to face significant competition to each of our services and product offerings. The human resource consulting market has been traditionally fragmented and a number of large consulting firms, such as McKinsey, Willis Towers Watson and Deloitte are building businesses in human resource consulting to serve these needs. The human resource consulting market has been traditionally fragmented and a number of large consulting firms, such as Ernst & Young, McKinsey, Willis Towers Watson and Deloitte are building businesses in human resource consulting to serve these needs. Our consulting business line has and continues to face competition from human resource consulting businesses. Many of these competitors are significantly larger than Korn Ferry and have considerable resources at their disposal, allowing for potentially significant investment to grow their human resource consulting business. Digital Products in the human resource market has been traditionally fragmented and a number of firms such as AON, Mercer, Willis Towers Watson, SHL, Fuel 50, SkillSoft, Criteria, Predictive Index, Prevue Hire and Textio offer competitive products. Competitors in the digital marketplace are a combination of large, well-capitalized firms and niche players who have received multiple rounds of private financing. Competitors in the digital marketplace are a combination of large well capitalized firms and niche players who have received multiple rounds of private financing. Increased competition, whether as a result of professional and social networking website providers, traditional executive search firms, sole proprietors and in-house human resource professionals (as noted above) or larger consulting firms building human resources consulting businesses, may lead to pricing pressures that could negatively impact our business. For example, increased competition could require us to charge lower prices, and/or cause us to lose market share, each of which could reduce our fee revenue.

Our executive search services face competition from both traditional and non-traditional competitors that provide job placement services, including other large global executive search firms, smaller specialty firms and web-based firms. In recent years, we have also begun facing increased competition from sole proprietors and in-house human resource professionals whose ability to provide job placement services has been enhanced by professional profiles made available on the internet and enhanced social media-based search tools. The continued growth of the shared economy and related freelancing platform sites may also negatively impact demand for our services by allowing employers seeking services to connect with employees in real time and without any significant cost. Traditional executive search competitors include Egon Zehnder, Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc., Russell Reynolds Associates and Spencer Stuart. In each of our markets, one or more of our competitors may possess greater resources, greater name recognition, lower overhead or other costs and longer operating histories than we do, which may give them an advantage in obtaining future clients, capitalizing on new technology and attracting qualified professionals in these markets. Additionally, specialty firms can focus on regional or functional markets or on particular industries and executive search firms that have a smaller client base are subject to fewer off-limits arrangements. There are no extensive barriers to entry into the executive search industry and new recruiting firms continue to enter the market.

We believe the continuing development and increased availability of information technology will continue to attract new competitors, especially web-enabled professional and social networking website providers, and these providers may be facilitating a company’s ability to insource their recruiting capabilities. Competitors in these fields include SmashFly, iCIMS, Yello, Indeed, Google for Jobs and Jobvite. As these providers continue to evolve, they may develop offerings similar to or more expansive than ours, thereby increasing competition for our services or more broadly causing disruption in the executive search industry. Further, as technology continues to develop and the shared economy continues to grow, we expect that the use of freelancing platform sites will become more prevalent. As a result, companies may turn to such sites for their talent needs, which could negatively impact demand for the services we offer.

Our RPO & Professional Search services primarily compete for business with other RPO providers such as Cielo, Alexander Mann Solutions, IBM, Allegis and Kelly Services, and compete for mid-level professional search assignments with regional contingency recruitment firms and large national retained recruitment firms such as Robert Half, Michael Page, Harvey Nash and the Lucas Group. In addition, some organizations have developed or may develop internal solutions to address talent acquisition that may be competitive with our solutions. This is a highly competitive and developing industry with numerous specialists. To compete successfully and achieve our growth targets for our talent acquisition business, we must continue to support and develop assessment and analytics solutions, maintain and grow our proprietary database, deliver demonstrable return on investment to clients, support our products and services globally, and continue to provide consulting and training to support our assessment products. Our failure to compete effectively could adversely affect our operating results and future growth.

Failure to attract and retain qualified and experienced consultants, could result in a loss of clients which in turn could cause a decline in our revenue and harm to our business.

We compete with other executive and professional search and consulting firms for qualified and experienced consultants. These other firms may be able to offer greater compensation and benefits or more attractive lifestyle choices, career paths or geographic locations than we do. Attracting and retaining consultants in our industry is particularly important because, generally, a small number of consultants have primary responsibility for a client relationship. Because client responsibility is so concentrated, the loss of key consultants may lead to the loss of client

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relationships. In fiscal 2021, our top three consultants in Executive Search (including all four reportable regional segments) and in our Consulting segment had generated business equal to approximately 1% and 2% of our total fee revenues, respectively. Furthermore, our top ten consultants in Executive Search (including all four reportable regional segments) and in our Consulting segment had generated business equal to approximately 3% and 4% of our total fee revenues, respectively. This risk is heightened due to the general portability of a consultant’s business: consultants have in the past, and will in the future, terminate their employment with our Company. Any decrease in the quality of our reputation, reduction in our compensation levels relative to our peers or restructuring of our compensation program, whether as a result of insufficient revenue, a decline in the market price of our common stock or for any other reason, could impair our ability to retain existing consultants or attract additional qualified consultants with the requisite experience, skills and established client relationships. Our failure to retain our most productive consultants, whether in Executive Search, Consulting, Digital or RPO & Professional Search, or maintain the quality of service to which our clients are accustomed, as well as the ability of a departing consultant to move business to his or her new employer, could result in a loss of clients, which could in turn cause our fee revenue to decline and our business to be harmed. We may also lose clients if the departing Executive Search, Consulting, Digital or RPO & Professional Search consultant has widespread name recognition or a reputation as a specialist in his or her line of business in a specific industry or management function. We could also lose additional consultants if they choose to join the departing Executive Search, Consulting, Digital or RPO & Professional Search consultant at another executive search or consulting firm. Failing to limit departing consultants from moving business or recruiting our consultants to a competitor could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Failing to maintain our professional reputation and the goodwill associated with our brand name could seriously harm our business.

We depend on our overall reputation and brand name recognition to secure new engagements and to hire qualified professionals. Our success also depends on the individual reputations of our professionals. We obtain a majority of our new engagements from existing clients or from referrals by those clients. Any client who is dissatisfied with our services can adversely affect our ability to secure new engagements. If any factor, including poor performance or negative publicity, whether or not true, hurts our reputation, we may experience difficulties in competing successfully for both new engagements and qualified consultants, which could seriously harm our business.

As we develop new services, clients and practices, enter new lines of business, and focus more of our business on providing a full range of client solutions, the demands on our business and our operating and legal risks may increase.

As part of our corporate strategy, we are attempting to leverage our research and consulting services to sell a full range of services across the life cycle of a policy, program, project or initiative, and we are regularly searching for ways to provide new services to clients. This strategy, even if effectively executed, may prove insufficient in light of changes in market conditions, technology, competitive pressures or other external factors. In addition, we plan to extend our services to new clients and into new lines of business and geographic locations. As we focus on developing new services, clients, practice areas and lines of business; open new offices; and engage in business in new geographic locations, our operations are exposed to additional as well as enhanced risks.

In particular, our growth efforts place substantial additional demands on our management and staff, as well as on our information, financial, administrative and operational systems. We may not be able to manage these demands successfully. Growth may require increased recruiting efforts, opening new offices, increased business development, selling, marketing and other actions that are expensive and entail increased risk. We may need to invest more in our people and systems, controls, compliance efforts, policies and procedures than we anticipate. Therefore, even if we do grow, the demands on our people and systems, controls, compliance efforts, policies and procedures may exceed the benefits of such growth, and our operating results may suffer, at least in the short-term, and perhaps in the long-term.

Efforts involving a different focus and/or new services, clients, practice areas, lines of business, offices and geographic locations entail inherent risks associated with our inexperience and competition from mature participants in those areas. Our inexperience may result in costly decisions that could harm our profit and operating results. In particular, new or improved services often relate to the development, implementation and improvement of critical infrastructure or operating systems that our clients may view as “mission critical,” and if we fail to satisfy the needs of our clients in providing these services, our clients could incur significant costs and losses for which they could seek compensation from us. As our business continues to evolve and we provide a wider range of services, we will become increasingly dependent upon our employees, particularly those operating in business environments less familiar to us. Failure to identify, hire, train and retain talented employees who share our values could have a negative effect on our reputation and our business.

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We are subject to potential legal liability from clients, employees, candidates for employment, stockholders and others. Insurance coverage may not be available to cover all of our potential liability and available coverage may not be sufficient to cover all claims that we may incur.

We are exposed to potential claims with respect to the executive search process and our consulting services, among numerous other matters. For example, a client could assert a claim for matters such as breach of an off-limit agreement or recommending a candidate who subsequently proves to be unsuitable for the position filled. Further, the current employer of a candidate whom we placed could file a claim against us alleging interference with an employment contract; a candidate could assert an action against us for failure to maintain the confidentiality of the candidate’s employment search; and a candidate or employee could assert an action against us for alleged discrimination, violations of labor and employment law or other matters. Also, in various countries, we are subject to data protection, employment and other laws impacting the processing of candidate information and other regulatory requirements that could give rise to liabilities/claims. Also, in various countries, we are subject to data protection laws impacting the processing of candidate information and other regulatory requirements that could give rise to liabilities/claims. Client dissatisfaction with the consulting services provided by our consultants may also lead to claims against us.

Additionally, as part of our consulting services, we often send a team of leadership consultants to our clients’ workplaces. Such consultants generally have access to client information systems and confidential information. An inherent risk of such activity includes possible claims of misuse or misappropriation of client IP, confidential information, funds or other property, as well as harassment, criminal activity, torts, or other claims. Such claims may result in negative publicity, injunctive relief, criminal investigations and/or charges, payment by us of monetary damages or fines, or other material adverse effects on our business. Such claims may 16 result in negative publicity, injunctive relief, criminal investigations and/or charges, payment by us of monetary damages or fines, or other material adverse effects on our business.

From time to time, we may also be subject to legal actions or claims brought by our stockholders, including securities, derivative and class actions, for a variety of matters related to our operations, such as significant business transactions, cybersecurity incidents, volatility in our stock, and our responses to stockholder activism, among others. Such actions or claims and their resolution may result in defense costs, as well as settlements, fines or judgments against us, some of which are not, or cannot be, covered by insurance. The payment of any such costs, settlements, fines or judgments that are not insured could have a material adverse effect on our business. In addition, such matters may affect the availability or cost of some of our insurance coverage, which could adversely impact our results of operations and expose us to increased risks that would be uninsured.

We cannot ensure that our insurance will cover all claims or that insurance coverage will be available at economically acceptable rates. Our ability to obtain insurance, its coverage levels, deductibles and premiums, are all dependent on market factors, our loss history and insurers’ perception of our overall risk profile. Our insurance may also require us to meet a deductible. Significant uninsured liabilities could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to numerous and varied government regulations across the jurisdictions in which we operate.

Our business is subject to various federal, state, local, and foreign laws and regulations that are complex, change frequently and may become more stringent over time. Future legislation, regulatory changes or policy shifts under the new U.S. administration or other governments, could impact our business. Our failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations could restrict our ability to provide certain services or result in the imposition of fines and penalties, substantial regulatory and compliance costs, litigation expense, adverse publicity, and loss of revenue. Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with applicable laws or satisfactorily protect personal information could result in governmental enforcement actions, litigation, or negative publicity, any of which could inhibit sales of our services, solutions and/or products. We incur, and expect to continue to incur, significant expenses in our attempt to comply with these laws, and our businesses are also subject to an increasing degree of compliance oversight by regulators and by our clients. In addition, our Digital services and increasing use of technology in our business expose us to data privacy and cybersecurity laws and regulations that vary and are evolving across jurisdictions. These and other laws and regulations, as well as laws and regulations in the various states or in other countries, could limit our ability to pursue business opportunities we might otherwise consider engaging in, impose additional costs or restrictions on us, result in significant loss of revenue, impact the value of assets we hold, or otherwise significantly adversely affect our business. Any failure by us to comply with applicable laws or regulations could also result in significant liability to us from private legal actions, or may result in the cessation of our operations or portions of our operations or impositions of fines and restrictions on our ability to carry on or expand our operations. Our operations could also be negatively affected by changes to laws and regulations and enhanced regulatory oversight of our clients and us. These changes may compel us to change our prices, may restrict our ability to implement price increases, and may limit the manner in which we conduct our business or otherwise may have a negative impact on our ability to generate revenues, earnings, and cash flows. If we are unable to adapt our products and services to conform to the new laws and regulations, or if these laws and regulations have a negative impact on our clients, we may experience client losses or increased operating costs, and our business and results of operations could be negatively affected.

Our business and operations are impacted by developing laws and regulations, as well as evolving investor and customer expectations with regard to environmental matters, including the impacts and actions needed to address climate change.

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We are subject to evolving local, state, federal and/or international laws, regulations, and expectations regarding the environment and climate change. These requirements and expectations may increase the time and cost of our efforts to monitor and comply with those obligations; limit the extent, frequency, and modality with which our consultants travel; and expose us to liability. Within our own operations, we face additional costs from rising energy costs which make it more expensive to power our corporate offices.

The impacts of climate change present notable risks, including damage to assets and technology caused by extreme weather events linked to climate change.

Risks Related To Our Profitability

We may not be able to align our cost structure with our revenue level, which in turn may require additional financing in the future that may not be available at all or may be available only on unfavorable terms.

Our efforts to align our cost structure with the current realities of our markets may not be successful. When actual or projected fee revenues are negatively impacted by weakening customer demand, we have and may again find it necessary to take cost cutting measures so that we can minimize the impact on our profitability. In fiscal 2020, due to the decrease in fee revenue as a result of COVID-19 and, as part of a broader program aimed at further enhancing our strong balance sheet and liquidity position, the Company developed and implemented a plan that was intended to adjust our cost base to the then-current economic environment and to position us to invest in the recovery. This plan included (i) a reduction in workforce, which was completed by the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2021 and resulted in in restructuring charges of $40.5 million and $30.7 million associated with severance during fiscal 2020 and 2021, respectively, (ii) the temporary furlough of certain employees, (iii) subject to certain exceptions and legal requirements, salary reductions across the organization through December 31, 2020, and (iv) other cost saving measures relating to general and administrative expenses. Failing to maintain a balance between our cost structure and our revenue could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations and lead to negative cash flows, which in turn might require us to obtain additional financing to meet our capital needs. If we are unable to secure such additional financing on favorable terms, or at all, our ability to fund our operations could be impaired, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

Our financial results could suffer if we are unable to achieve or maintain adequate utilization and suitable billing rates for our consultants.

Our profitability depends, to a large extent, on the utilization and billing rates of our professionals. Utilization of our professionals is affected by a number of factors, including: the number and size of client engagements; the timing of the commencement, completion and termination of engagements (for example, the commencement or termination of multiple RPO engagements could have a significant impact on our business, including significant fluctuations in our fee revenue, since these types of engagements are generally larger, in terms of both staffing and fee revenue generated, than our other engagements); our ability to transition our consultants efficiently from completed engagements to new engagements; the hiring of additional consultants because there is generally a transition period for new consultants that results in a temporary drop in our utilization rate; unanticipated changes in the scope of client engagements; our ability to forecast demand for our services and thereby maintain an appropriate level of consultants; and conditions affecting the industries in which we practice, as well as general economic conditions. Utilization of our professionals is affected by a number of factors, including: ▪ the number and size of client engagements; ▪ the timing of the commencement, completion and termination of engagements (for example, the commencement or termination of multiple RPO engagements could have a significant impact on our business, including significant fluctuations in our fee revenue, since these types of engagements are generally larger, in terms of both staffing and fee revenue generated, than our other engagements); ▪ our ability to transition our consultants efficiently from completed engagements to new engagements; ▪ the hiring of additional consultants because there is generally a transition period for new consultants that results in a temporary drop in our utilization rate; ▪ unanticipated changes in the scope of client engagements; ▪ our ability to forecast demand for our services and thereby maintain an appropriate level of consultants; and ▪ conditions affecting the industries in which we practice as well as general economic conditions.

The billing rates of our consultants that we are able to charge are also affected by a number of factors, including: our clients’ perception of our ability to add value through our services; the market demand for the services we provide, which may vary globally or within particular industries that we serve; an increase in the number of clients in the government sector in the industries we serve; the introduction of new services by us or our competitors; our competition and the pricing policies of our competitors; and current economic conditions.

If we are unable to achieve and maintain adequate overall utilization, as well as maintain or increase the billing rates for our consultants, our financial results could materially suffer. In addition, our consultants oftentimes perform services at the physical locations of our clients. Natural disasters, pandemics, disruptions to travel and transportation or problems with communications systems negatively impact our ability to perform services for, and interact with, our clients at their physical locations, which could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

The profitability of our fixed-fee engagements with clients may not meet our expectations if we underestimate the cost of these engagements when pricing them.

When making proposals for fixed-fee engagements, we estimate the costs and timing for completing the engagements and these estimates may not be accurate. Any increased or unexpected costs or unanticipated delays in connection with the performance of fixed-fee engagements, including delays caused by factors outside our control, could make these contracts less profitable or unprofitable, which would have an adverse effect on our profit margin. For the years ended April 30, 2021, 2020, and 2019, fixed-fee engagements represented 26%, 25%, and 27% of our revenues, respectively. For the years ended April 30, 2020, 2019, and 2018, fixed-fee engagements represented 25%, 27%, and 28% of our revenues, respectively.

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Risks Related To Accounting and Taxation

Foreign currency exchange rate risks affect our results of operations.

A material portion of our revenue and expenses are generated by our operations in foreign countries, and we expect that our foreign operations will account for a material portion of our revenue and expenses in the future. Most of our international expenses and revenue are denominated in foreign currencies. As a result, our financial results are affected by changes in foreign currency exchange rates or weak economic conditions in foreign markets in which we have operations, among other factors. Fluctuations in the value of those currencies in relation to the U.S. dollar have caused and will continue to cause dollar-translated amounts to vary from one period to another. Such variations expose us to both adverse as well as beneficial movements in currency exchange rates. Given the volatility of exchange rates, we are not always able to manage effectively our currency translation or transaction risks, which has and may continue to adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

We have deferred tax assets that we may not be able to use under certain circumstances.

If we are unable to generate sufficient future taxable income in certain jurisdictions, or if there is a significant change in the time period within which the underlying temporary differences become taxable or deductible, we could be required to increase our valuation allowances against our deferred tax assets. This would result in an increase in our effective tax rate, and an adverse effect on our future operating results. In addition, changes in statutory tax rates may also change our deferred tax assets or liability balances, with either a favorable or unfavorable impact on our effective tax rate. Our deferred tax assets may also be impacted by new legislation or regulation.

Risks Related to Our Financing/Indebtedness

Our indebtedness could adversely affect our financial condition, our ability to operate our business, react to changes in the economy or our industry, prevent us from fulfilling our obligations under our indebtedness and could divert our cash flow from operations for debt payments.

As of April 30, 2021, we had approximately $400.0 million in total indebtedness outstanding, and $646.0 million of availability under our $650.0 million five-year senior secured revolving credit facility (the “Revolver”) provided for under our Credit Agreement (the “Credit Agreement”) that we entered into on December 16, 2019, with a syndicate of banks and Bank of America, National Association as administrative agent. Subject to the limits contained in the Credit Agreement that govern our Revolver and the indenture governing our $400.0 million principal amount of the 4.625% Senior Unsecured Notes due 2027 (the “Notes”), we may be able to incur substantial additional debt from time to time to finance working capital, capital expenditures, investments or acquisition, or for other purposes. If we do so, the risks related to our debt could increase.

Specifically, our level of debt could have important consequences to us, including the following: it may be difficult for us to satisfy our obligations, including debt service requirements under our outstanding debt; our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, debt service requirements, acquisitions or other general corporate purposes may be impaired; requiring a substantial portion of cash flow from operations to be dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on our indebtedness, including the Notes, therefore reducing our ability to use our cash flow to fund our operations, capital expenditures, future business opportunities and other purposes; we are more vulnerable to economic downturns and adverse industry conditions and our flexibility to plan for, or react to, changes in our business or industry is more limited; our ability to capitalize on business opportunities and to react to competitive pressures, as compared to our competitors, may be compromised due to our high level of debt and the restrictive covenants in the Credit Agreement and the indenture governing our Notes; our ability to borrow additional funds or to refinance debt may be limited; COVID-19 could impact our ability to draw on the revolver or result in a credit downgrade; and it may cause potential or existing customers to not contract with us due to concerns over our ability to meet our financial obligations, such as insuring against our professional liability risks, under such contracts.

Furthermore, our debt under our Revolver bears interest at variable rates.

Despite our indebtedness levels, we and our subsidiaries may still incur substantially more debt, which could further exacerbate the risks associated with our substantial leverage.

We and our subsidiaries may incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future. The Credit Agreement and the indenture governing our Notes contain restrictions on the incurrence of additional indebtedness, but these restrictions are subject to several qualifications and exceptions, and the indebtedness that may be incurred in compliance with these restrictions could be substantial. If we incur additional debt, the risks associated with our leverage, including those described above, would increase. Further, the restrictions in the indenture governing the Notes and the Credit Agreement will not prevent us from incurring obligations, such as trade payables, that do not constitute indebtedness as defined in such debt instruments. As of April 30, 2021, we had $646.0 million of availability to incur additional secured indebtedness under our Revolver.

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Our variable rate indebtedness subjects us to interest rate risk, which could cause our indebtedness service obligations to increase significantly.

Interest rates fluctuate. As a result, interest rates on the Revolver or other variable rate debt offerings could be higher or lower than current levels. If interest rates increase, our debt service obligations on our variable rate indebtedness, if any, would increase even though the amount borrowed remained the same, and our net income and cash flows, including cash available for servicing our indebtedness, would correspondingly decrease. If interest rates increase, our debt service obligations on our variable rate indebtedness would increase even though the amount borrowed remained the same, and our net income and cash flows, including cash available for servicing our indebtedness, would correspondingly decrease. In addition, a transition away from the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) as a benchmark for establishing the applicable interest rate may affect the cost of servicing our debt under the Revolver. In July 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority of the U.K. announced that it plans to phase out LIBOR by the end of calendar year 2021. On March 5, 2021, however, the ICE Benchmark Administration (the “IBA”), the administrator of LIBOR, announced its intention to cease the publication of all settings of non-U.S. dollar LIBOR and only the one-week and two-month U.S. dollar LIBOR settings on December 31, 2021, with the publication of the remaining U.S. dollar LIBOR settings being discontinued after June 30, 2023. It is unclear if LIBOR will cease to exist at that time or if new methods of calculating LIBOR will be established. Our borrowing arrangements provide for alternative base rates, but such alternative base rates may or may not be related to LIBOR, and the consequences of the phase out of LIBOR cannot be entirely predicted at this time. For example, if any alternative base rate or means of calculating interest with respect to our outstanding variable rate indebtedness leads to an increase in the interest rates charged, it could result in an increase in the cost of such indebtedness, impact our ability to refinance some or all of our existing indebtedness or otherwise have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may be unable to service our indebtedness.

Our ability to make scheduled payments on and to refinance our indebtedness depends on and is subject to our financial and operating performance, which in turn is affected by general and regional economic, financial, competitive, business and other factors, all of which are beyond our control, including the availability of financing in the international banking and capital markets. Lower total revenue generally will reduce our cash flow. We cannot assure you that our business will generate sufficient cash flow from operations or that future borrowings will be available to us in an amount sufficient to enable us to service our debt, to refinance our debt or to fund our other liquidity needs.

If we are unable to meet our debt service obligations or to fund our other liquidity needs, we will need to restructure or refinance all or a portion of our debt, which could cause us to default on our debt obligations and impair our liquidity. Our ability to restructure or refinance our debt will depend on the condition of the capital markets and our financial condition at such time. Any refinancing of our indebtedness could be at higher interest rates and may require us to comply with more onerous covenants that could further restrict our business operations.

Moreover, in the event of a default, the holders of our indebtedness, including the Notes, could elect to declare all the funds borrowed to be due and payable, together with accrued and unpaid interest, if any. The lenders under the Revolver could also elect to terminate their commitments thereunder, cease making further loans, and institute foreclosure proceedings against their collateral, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. If we breach our covenants under the Revolver, we would be in default thereunder. The lenders could exercise their rights, as described above, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation.

The agreements governing our debt impose significant operating and financial restrictions on us and our subsidiaries, which may prevent us from capitalizing on business opportunities.

The Credit Agreement and the indenture governing the Notes impose significant operating and financial restrictions on us. These restrictions limit our ability and the ability of our subsidiaries to, among other things: incur or guarantee additional debt or issue capital stock; pay dividends and make other distributions on, or redeem or repurchase, capital stock; make certain investments; incur certain liens; enter into transactions with affiliates; merge or consolidate; enter into agreements that restrict the ability of subsidiaries to make dividends, distributions or other payments to us or the guarantors; in the case of the indenture governing our Notes, designate restricted subsidiaries as unrestricted subsidiaries; and transfer or sell assets. These restrictions limit our ability and the ability of our subsidiaries to, among other things: • incur or guarantee additional debt or issue capital stock; • pay dividends and make other distributions on, or redeem or repurchase, capital stock; • make certain investments; • incur certain liens; • enter into transactions with affiliates; • merge or consolidate; • enter into agreements that restrict the ability of subsidiaries to make dividends, distributions or other payments to us or the guarantors; 20 • in the case of the indenture governing our Notes, designate restricted subsidiaries as unrestricted subsidiaries; and • transfer or sell assets.

We and our subsidiaries are subject to covenants, representations and warranties in respect of the Revolver, including financial covenants as defined in the Credit Agreement. See “Note 11 – Long-Term Debt” of our notes to our consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

As a result of these restrictions, we are limited as to how we conduct our business, and we may be unable to raise additional debt or equity financing to compete effectively or to take advantage of new business opportunities. The terms of any future indebtedness we may incur could include more restrictive covenants. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain compliance with these covenants in the future and, if we fail to do so, that we will be able to obtain waivers from the lenders and/or amend the covenants.

Our failure to comply with the restrictive covenants described above and/or the terms of any future indebtedness from

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time to time could result in an event of default, which, if not cured or waived, could result in our being required to repay these borrowings before their due date. If we are forced to refinance these borrowings on less favorable terms or cannot refinance these borrowings, our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

A decline in our operating results or available cash could cause us to experience difficulties in complying with covenants contained in more than one agreement, which could result in our bankruptcy or liquidation.

If we sustain a decline in our operating results or available cash, we could experience difficulties in complying with the financial covenants contained in the Credit Agreement. The failure to comply with such covenants could result in an event of default under the Revolver and by reason of cross-acceleration or cross-default provisions, other indebtedness may then become immediately due and payable. In addition, should an event of default occur, the lenders under our Revolver could elect to terminate their commitments thereunder, cease making loans and institute foreclosure proceedings against our assets, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. If our operating performance declines, we may in the future need to obtain waivers from the lenders under our Revolver to avoid being in default. If we breach our covenants under our Revolver and seek a waiver, we may not be able to obtain a waiver from the lenders thereunder. If this occurs, we would be in default under our Revolver, the lenders could exercise their rights, as described above, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation.

Risks Related to Technology, Cybersecurity and Intellectual Property

Social media platforms present risks and challenges that can cause damage to our brand and reputation.

The inappropriate and/or unauthorized use of social media platforms, including weblogs (or blogs), social media websites and other forms of Internet-based communications, which allow individuals access to a broad audience of consumers and other interested persons by our clients or employees could increase our costs, cause damage to our brand, lead to litigation or result in information leakage, including the improper collection and/or dissemination of personally identifiable information of candidates and clients. In addition, negative or inaccurate posts or comments about us on any social networking platforms could damage our reputation, brand image and goodwill.

Technological advances may significantly disrupt the labor market and weaken demand for human capital at a rapid rate.

Our success is directly dependent on our customers’ demands for talent. As technology continues to evolve, more tasks currently performed by people have been and may continue to be replaced by automation, robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and other technological advances outside of our control. The human resource industry has been and continues to be impacted by significant technological changes, enabling companies to offer services competitive with ours. Many of those technological changes may (i) reduce demand for our services, (ii) enable the development of competitive products or services, or (iii) enable our current customers to reduce or bypass the use of our services, particularly in lower-skill job categories. Additionally, rapid changes in artificial intelligence and block chain-based technology are increasing the competitiveness landscape. We may not be successful in anticipating or responding to these changes and demand for our services could be further reduced by advanced technologies being deployed by our competitors. The effort to gain technological expertise and develop new technologies in our business may require us to incur significant expenses. In some cases, we depend on key vendors and partners to provide technology and other support. If these third parties fail to perform their obligations or cease to work with us, our ability to execute on our strategic initiatives could be adversely affected.

We have invested in specialized technology and other IP for which we may fail to fully recover our investment, or which may become obsolete.

We have invested in developing specialized technology and IP, including proprietary systems, processes and methodologies, such as Korn Ferry Advance and Talent Hub, that we believe provide us a competitive advantage in serving our current clients and winning new engagements. Many of our service and product offerings rely on specialized technology or IP that is subject to rapid change, and to the extent that this technology and IP is rendered obsolete and of no further use to us or our clients, our ability to continue offering these services, and grow our revenues, has been and may continue to be adversely affected. There is no assurance that we will be able to develop new, innovative or improved technology or IP or that our technology and IP will effectively compete with the IP developed by our competitors. If we are unable to develop new technology and IP or if our competitors develop better technology or IP, our revenues and results of operations could be adversely affected.

We rely heavily on our information systems, and if we lose that technology, or fail to further develop our technology, our business could be harmed.

Our success depends in large part upon our ability to store, retrieve, process, manage and protect substantial amounts of information. To achieve our strategic objectives and to remain competitive, we must continue to develop and enhance our information systems. This may require the acquisition of equipment and software and the development of new proprietary software, either internally or through independent consultants. If we are unable to design, develop, implement and utilize, in a cost-effective manner, information systems that provide the capabilities necessary for us to compete effectively, or for any reason any interruption or loss of our information processing

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capabilities occurs, this could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition. We cannot be sure that our current insurance against the effects of a disaster regarding our information technology or our disaster recovery procedures will continue to be available at reasonable prices, cover all our losses or compensate us for the possible loss of clients occurring during any period that we are unable to provide business services.

We are subject to risk as it relates to software that we license from third parties.

We license software from third parties, much of which is integral to our systems and our business. The licenses are generally terminable if we breach our obligations under the license agreements. If any of these relationships were terminated or if any of these parties were to cease doing business or cease to support the applications we currently utilize, we may be forced to spend significant time and money to replace the licensed software. However, we cannot assure you that the necessary replacements will be available on reasonable terms, if at all.

We are dependent on third parties for the execution of certain critical functions.

We do not maintain all of our technology infrastructure, and we have outsourced certain other critical applications or business processes to external providers, including cloud-based services. The failure or inability to perform on the part of one or more of these critical suppliers or partners could cause significant disruptions and increased costs. We are also dependent on security measures that some of our third-party vendors and customers are taking to protect their own systems and infrastructures. If our third-party vendors do not maintain adequate security measures, do not require their sub-contractors to maintain adequate security measures, do not perform as anticipated and in accordance with contractual requirements, or become targets of cyber-attacks, we may experience operational difficulties and increased costs, which could materially and adversely affect our business.

Cyber security vulnerabilities and incidents have and may again lead to the improper disclosure of information obtained from our clients, candidates and employees, which could result in liability and harm to our reputation.

We use information technology and other computer resources to carry out operational and marketing activities and to maintain our business records. We rely on information technology systems to process, transmit, and store electronic information and to communicate among our locations around the world and with our clients, partners, and employees. The breadth and complexity of this infrastructure increases the risk of security breaches which could lead to potential unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. Reliance on trained professionals to configure and operate this infrastructure creates the potential for human error, leading to potential exposure of sensitive or confidential information.

Our systems and networks are vulnerable to computer viruses, malware, worms, hackers and other security issues, including physical and electronic break-ins, router disruption, sabotage or espionage, disruptions from unauthorized access and tampering (including through social engineering such as phishing attacks), impersonation of authorized users and coordinated denial-of-service attacks. For example, in the past we have experienced cyber security incidents resulting from unauthorized access to our systems, which to date have not had a material impact on our business or results of operations; however, there is no assurance that such impacts will not be material in the future.

The continued occurrence of high-profile data breaches against various entities and organizations provides evidence of an external environment that is increasingly hostile to information security. This environment demands that we continuously improve our design and coordination of security controls across our business groups and geographies in order to protect information that we develop or that is obtained from our clients, candidates and employees. Despite these efforts, given the ongoing and increasingly sophisticated attempts to access the information of entities, our security controls over this information, our training of employees, and other practices we follow have not and may not prevent the improper disclosure of such information. Our efforts and the costs incurred to bolster our security against attacks cannot provide absolute assurance that future data breaches will not occur. We depend on our overall reputation and brand name recognition to secure new engagements. Perceptions that we do not adequately protect the privacy of information could inhibit attaining new engagements, qualified consultants and could potentially damage currently existing client relationships.

Data security, data privacy and data protection laws, such as the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), and other evolving regulations and cross-border data transfer restrictions, may limit the use of our services, increase our costs and adversely affect our business.

We are subject to numerous U.S. and foreign jurisdiction laws and regulations designed to protect client, colleague, supplier and company data, such as the GDPR, which became effective in May 2018, and requires companies to meet stringent requirements regarding the handling of personal data, including its use, protection and transfer and the ability of persons whose data is stored to correct or delete such data about themselves. Complying with the enhanced obligations imposed by the GDPR has resulted and may continue to result in additional costs to our business and has required and may further require us to amend certain of our business practices. Failure to meet the GDPR requirements could result in significant penalties, including fines up to 4% of annual worldwide revenue. The GDPR also confers a private right of action on certain individuals and associations.

Laws and regulations in this area are evolving and generally becoming more stringent. For example, the New York State Department of Financial Services has issued cybersecurity regulations that outline a variety of required security measures for protection of data. Some U.S. states, including California, have also enacted cybersecurity laws requiring certain security measures of regulated entities that are broadly similar to GDPR requirements, such as the

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California Consumer Privacy Act and California Privacy Rights Act, and we expect that other states will continue to do so. As these laws continue to evolve, we may be required to make changes to our services, solutions and/or products so as to enable the Company and/or our clients to meet the new legal requirements, including by taking on more onerous obligations in our contracts, limiting our storage, transfer and processing of data and, in some cases, limiting our service and/or solution offerings in certain locations. Changes in these laws, or the interpretation and application thereof, may also increase our potential exposure through significantly higher potential penalties for non-compliance. The costs of compliance with, and other burdens imposed by, such laws and regulations and client demand in this area may limit the use of, or demand for, our services, solutions and/or products, make it more difficult and costly to meet client expectations, or lead to significant fines, penalties or liabilities for noncompliance, any of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

In addition, due to the uncertainty and potentially conflicting interpretations of these laws, it is possible that such laws and regulations may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another and may conflict with other rules or our practices. Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with applicable laws or satisfactorily protect personal information could result in governmental enforcement actions, litigation, or negative publicity, any of which could inhibit sales of our services, solutions and/or products.

Further, enforcement actions and investigations by regulatory authorities related to data security incidents and privacy violations continue to increase. It is possible that future enactment of more restrictive laws, rules or regulations and/or future enforcement actions or investigations could have an adverse impact on us through increased costs or restrictions on our businesses and noncompliance could result in regulatory penalties and significant legal liability.

Risks Related to Acquisitions

Acquisitions, or our inability to effect acquisitions, may have an adverse effect on our business.

We have completed several strategic acquisitions of businesses in the last several years, including our acquisition of Miller Heiman Group, AchieveForum and Strategy Execution in fiscal 2020 and Hay Group in fiscal 2016. Targeted acquisitions have been and continue to be part of our growth strategy, and we may in the future selectively acquire businesses that are complementary to our existing service offerings. However, we cannot be certain that we will be able to continue to identify appropriate acquisition candidates or acquire them on satisfactory terms. Our ability to consummate such acquisitions on satisfactory terms will depend on the extent to which acquisition opportunities become available; our success in bidding for the opportunities that do become available; negotiating terms that we believe are reasonable; and regulatory approval, if required. Our ability to consummate such acquisitions on satisfactory terms will depend on: 23 ▪ the extent to which acquisition opportunities become available; ▪ our success in bidding for the opportunities that do become available; ▪ negotiating terms that we believe are reasonable; and ▪ regulatory approval, if required.

Our ability to make strategic acquisitions may also be conditioned on our ability to fund such acquisitions through the incurrence of debt or the issuance of equity. Our Credit Agreement limits us from consummating acquisitions unless we are in pro forma compliance with our financial covenants, and our pro forma domestic liquidity after giving effect to the acquisition is at least $50.0 million, and certain other conditions are met. If we are required to incur substantial indebtedness in connection with an acquisition, and the results of the acquisition are not favorable, the increased indebtedness could decrease the value of our equity. In addition, if we need to issue additional equity to consummate an acquisition, doing so would cause dilution to existing stockholders.

If we are unable to make strategic acquisitions, or the acquisitions we do make are not on terms favorable to us or not effected in a timely manner, it may impede the growth of our business, which could adversely impact our profitability and our stock price.

As a result of our acquisitions, we have substantial amounts of goodwill and intangible assets, and changes in business conditions could cause these assets to become impaired, requiring write-downs that would adversely affect our operating results.

All of our acquisitions have been accounted for as purchases and involved purchase prices well in excess of tangible asset values, resulting in the creation of a significant amount of goodwill and other intangible assets. As of April 30, 2021, goodwill and purchased intangibles accounted for approximately 21% and 3%, respectively, of our total assets. Under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), we do not amortize goodwill and intangible assets acquired in a purchase business combination that are determined to have indefinite useful lives, but instead review them annually (or more frequently, if impairment indicators arise) for impairment. In fiscal 2019, the Company began to offer substantially all of the Company’s current products and services using the “Korn Ferry” name, branding and trademarks, and has sunset substantially all sub-brands, including Futurestep, Hay Group and Lominger, among others. The Hay Group and Lominger brands came to the Company through acquisitions and, in connection with the accounting for those acquisitions, $106.6 million of the purchase price was allocated to indefinite lived tradename intangible assets. On June 12, 2018, the Company concluded that as a result of the decision to discontinue the use of such sub-brands in the near term, the Company was required under U.S. GAAP to record in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 a one-time, non-cash intangible asset impairment charge of $106.6 million. The discontinuation of such brands could adversely affect our business. Further, future events or changes in circumstances that result in an impairment of goodwill or other intangible assets would have a negative impact on our profitability and operating results.

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An impairment in the carrying value of goodwill and other intangible assets could negatively impact our consolidated results of operations and net worth.

Goodwill is initially recorded as the excess of amounts paid over the fair value of net assets acquired. While goodwill is not amortized, it is reviewed for impairment at least annually or more frequently, if impairment indicators are present. In assessing the carrying value of goodwill, we make qualitative and quantitative assumptions and estimates about revenues, operating margins, growth rates and discount rates based on our business plans, economic projections, anticipated future cash flows and marketplace data. There are inherent uncertainties related to these factors and management’s judgment in applying these factors. Goodwill valuations have been calculated using an income approach based on the present value of future cash flows of each reporting unit and a market approach. We could be required to evaluate the carrying value of goodwill prior to the annual assessment if we experience unexpected, significant declines in operating results or sustained market capitalization declines. These types of events and the resulting analyses could result in goodwill impairment charges in the future. Impairment charges, such as the impairment charge that we recorded in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 related to the discontinuation of the Hay Group and Lominger brands, could substantially affect our results of operations and net worth in the periods of such charges.