Korn/Ferry International said it returned to a profit in its fiscal first quarter with revenue from executive recruitment fees rising as client companies worldwide began recovering from the downturn.

The Los Angeles staffing giant on Thursday reported net income of $10.9 million (24 cents per share) for the quarter ended July 31, compared with a loss of $14.3 million (-33 cents) a year earlier, when the company took $18.2 million in restructuring charges.

Revenue rose 49 percent to $183 million as the company had a 43 percent increase in the number of executive recruitment engagements billed. Its Futurestep recruitment process outsourcing unit also saw strong growth and now comprises 25 percent of the company’s business, noted Chief Executive Gary Burnison.

"We have outperformed a seemingly directionless economy,” Burnison said in a statement. “It is our differentiation which has enabled us to outperform the industry.”

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected per-share earnings of 20 cents on revenue of less than $167 million.

Shares were up 49 cents, or 3 percent, to $15.43 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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