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What: Shares of Heidrick & Struggles (NASDAQ:HSII) were ... well, struggling today, falling as much as 24% after delivering a disappointing quarterly earnings report.

So what: The headhunting and leadership consulting specialist said revenue for the quarter fell 18% to $103.9 million, below expectations of $109.5 million. Even worse, Heidrick & Struggles reported a $0.02-per-share loss against estimates of a $0.16 profit. Revenue dropped in all regions, with Europe the worst performer at a 29.2% decline. All segments declined as well, with Leadership Consulting falling 34.9%. First-quarter guidance was within expectations at $100 million to $110 million, and management said "restoring our growth in our core Executive Search business is our foremost priority."

Now what: This report is about as bad as they come. Not only was the last quarter a disaster, but all of 2012 was just as miserable. For the year, revenue dropped 15.9% and earnings per share were just $0.34, down from an adjusted EPS of $1.33 in 2011, as income from continuing operations dropped by 30%. This is a 60-year-old company, and I don't expect it to disappear anytime soon, but management desperately needs to find a path out of these doldrums.

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Fool contributor Jeremy Bowman and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.