At DCZ, we value sustainable growth and long-term collaborations.
And make sure that our words and actions align.

DCZ team meeting at a table with Daniela Schilz, Dr. Carmen Zirngibl and Svea Ockenfeld

Why we started

After completing her PhD in Microbiology and working as a recruiter, Dr. Carmen Zirngibl founded DCZ Executive Search in 1997. Her goal was to combine her passion for people and HR with her continued fascination with biology and insight into life sciences and biotech industries, a combination that didn’t exist yet on the recruitment market. Over our 25 years in business we’ve also realized our dream to integrate our values of sustainable living into our work life. In every aspect of our work we do what we say, and have treated our own team’s growth accordingly, finding truly ideal matches with each new business partner.

Who we are

Daniela Schilz joined the company in 2002, followed by Svea Ockenfeld in 2011 and Dr. Julia Pachnicke in 2022. As a team of natural scientists we bring professional expertise and industry experience to each assignment. But it’s our personal passion for supporting and empowering people to find working conditions that truly fulfil them which singles us out. We know that change happens gradually and support models of growth that are beneficial, realistic and will lead to the best possible outcome for all parties.

Our beliefs

We regularly examine how we can benefit the world around us and help to build a better future. We strive to create a positive impact in our relationships with clients, talents and within our own team, and also reflect this effort in our everyday environmental choices. We aim to make the planet a better place for all beings to live on in the future: with people in careers that suit and support their unique personalities, and by aiming for a carbon neutral lifestyle.

Meet the team

Portrait of DCZ Founder Member Dr. Carmen Zirngibl smiling with folded arms in white blouse in front of light background.

Dr. Carmen Zirngibl

Founder and Managing Partner

»I’m honored to have been a first witness of modern biotechnological revolutions, and am in awe of the incredible innovations that come out of this sector. Contributing the right people to make these innovations happen, and who go on to create sustainable change, is what drives me.«


+49 211 99364 225




Dr. Carmen Zirngibl has almost 30 years of experience in executive search, of which she spent more than 25 years at DCZ Executive Search GmbH. Carmen founded DCZ in 1997 in Düsseldorf, Germany, and entered the market as the first executive search consultancy specializing in life sciences.

In addition to her excellent track record in executive search consultancy dedicated to the life sciences, healthcare and technology-focused industries, Carmen displays an in-depth understanding of research and development in academia as well as in industry.

In 2013 she became Managing Partner of FS Life Science Investment – a private equity company focusing on biotechnology.

In 2017 she joined the advisory board of BioEcho Life Sciences GmbH.

Carmen has a background in natural sciences, including high-profile studies and research at the Universities of Oxford, Regensburg and Marburg.

Portrait of DCZ team member Daniela Schilz smiling in white blouse in front of light background.

Daniela Schilz

Managing Partner

»My greatest joy at work is finding that perfect match between a job description and a human being where everything fits. Creating these solid foundations for personal and professional growth inspires me every day.«


+49 211 99364 226




With almost 20 years experience in executive search, Daniela Schilz successfully manages search assignments from concept to completion on senior as well as on specialist levels.

Her dedication combined with her vast market know-how allow her to meet clients and candidates at their level and to translate their needs into results. She constantly strives to create a win-win situation for both parties.

After a training in marketing, Daniela started her professional career in 2002 at DCZ as a research associate. She soon followed joining formally as DCZ’s first instance consultant and later as senior consultant.

In 2014 Daniela was appointed Managing Partner of DCZ.

Daniela has a Master’s degree in molecular biology from the University of Cologne.

Portrait of DCZ team member Svea Ockenfeld smiling with folded arms in pink blouse in front of light background.

Svea Ockenfeld

Executive Partner

»I’m proud to be able to place people in roles where they can truly unfold their potential and which bring them happiness in their everyday life. Seeing  people happy in their new roles gives me a real sense of accomplishment and joy.«


+49 211 99364 228




Svea Ockenfeld is a natural scientist with almost 15 years experience in executive search.

She keeps herself up to date with the most recent scientific developments.

As a recruitment consultant with a profound market knowledge and excellent project management skills, she strives to listen to and understand her clients as well as her candidates.

In 2011, Svea joined DCZ as a consultant and was promoted to senior consultant shortly thereafter. In 2024 she was appointed Executive Partner of DCZ.

Before joining DCZ, Svea worked as an Executive Research Consultant with a direct search company specialising on the healthcare market.

Svea has a Master’s degree in Biology from the University of Berlin.

Portrait of DCZ team member Julia Pachnicke smiling with a light blouse in front of light background.

Dr. Julia Pachnicke

Junior Consultant

»I’m thrilled to see how new combinations between companies and people can lead to lasting innovations – that benefit everyone, including the planet.«


+49 211 99364 229




Julia Pachnicke holds a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover, where she focused on primate pathology.

She is passionate about trends and topics in natural sciences, with special focus on the health sector and veterinary pathology.

Julia joined DCZ in March 2022 after a maternity break, and is excited to blend her scientific and academic background with recruiting.

Our values

Here are the pillars of how we approach our work.


We meet every person where they are and practise non-judgement. Listening is more than a skill, it’s who we are.


The best working relationships are built on trust. We are reliable partners and can count on ourselves and each other.


Our humanity is what makes us unique. Approaching each interaction completely as ourselves lets others do the same.


We choose gradual change and sustainable solutions over quick fixes every time. Whether coaching a client or minimising our carbon footprint, we aim to contribute to making the world a little bit better.

We are member of

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We have already successfully completed a number of critical placements with DCZ Executive Search GmbH. Thanks to their many years of experience, which enables them to define positions excellently in terms of both professional and personal requirements, tailored to our needs. This always results in the selection and activation of outstanding candidates.
Ulla D., PhD