Interim Management Overview

Our Commercial Interim Practice has had an eventful first half of the year making appointments across a range of different sized businesses from large publicly held, mid-cap private equity, and early-stage venture capital-backed companies. The roles we have been recruiting have ranged from Interim Chief Executive, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Digital Officer, Chief Revenue Officer, to some more unique roles across areas like creative, communications and even the development of a digital health proposition.

We specialise in appointing interim leadership roles at a C-Suite or Director level in areas like commercial, growth, marketing, digital, brand, customer experience, sales, and business development.

From a sector perspective we have seen a growth in work coming from the technology sector. In particular the software market, both for technologies that will provide companies with a competitive edge when acquiring customers, as well as software supporting greater organisational efficiency. We have seen notable increased demand in the health technology market, as well as continued growth in markets like payments and fintech. As expected, we have also seen an uplift in traditional retail or physical channel operators trying to grow their online customer base as well work coming from pure play ecommerce businesses. Outside of this, we have seen requirements across sectors like healthcare, gaming, consumer, and insurance.

In addition to interim commercial appointments, our wider interim practice has had an equally busy first half of the year with a demanding H1 for CFO/finance appointments, and more recently a significant increase in recent months for interim HR appointments. Again, we have been busy with instructions within private equity and from a sector perspective have seen demand in areas like technology, professional services, consumer, and the energy sector. We have also seen a big uplift in requirements coming from the continent, with European businesses wanting access to the UK’s mature interim management network.


Sector Update

Savannah’s commercial executive search practice have seen a strong front half of 2019, across all its markets. The digital agenda remains an underlying theme with sales, marketing and product management more frequent.


Digital & Technology Sector

There is a demand for innovation and creativity from all sides; vendors are having to manage their own digital model as well as help their customers. With technology only being one component, leaders also need to execute new operating and commercial models. New technologies provide huge revenue opportunities for the correct go-to-market strategy, but it is often the legacy technology and infrastructure that prevents business from pushing ahead quickly enough to gain competitive advantage.

The tech firms are moving at incredible speeds with AI, Robotics and SMART applications not considered as future technologies but now a reality (virtual)… ensuring these ideas come to life and do so profitably requires a new Leadership approach. Having the right board and investors who are willing to make timely decisions has proven to be essential, today more than ever.

With many early-stage companies struggling to scale-up at the speed needed, Savannah has helped firms with Fractional support. In these cases, seasoned professionals can impart specific knowledge and expertise in a format that allows them to juggle a plural career and help an early stage business or those with an event in the process to achieve this with a commitment of just a few days of the week.


Sport, Media & Entertainment Sector

The first half of the year focused on international briefs with global sports rights holders. We have seen continued demand from clients to hire world class executive talent with the ability to unlock traditional as well as non-traditional revenue streams. As rights holders’ transition to become ‘Business to Everybody’ organisations, it is essential they are well equipped with executives that can unlock both B2B as well as B2C revenues. Equally the ability to lead and galvanise teams around new strategic organisational goals is a critical softer skillset for this period of change.

We continue to work closely with businesses across the media spectrum. This involves advising a broad range of clients on the talent that can best create, distribute and monetise content on their behalf.


Travel, Leisure & Hospitality Sector

Savannah’s travel, leisure and hospitality practice continues to see strong demand for commercial talent, typically either to drive turnaround of poorly performing groups or divisions, or to either unlock and kick-start growth across new territories, product or service lines. Over the last six months we have completed a chief commercial officer assignment for a private-equity backed leisure organisation; a CEO digital appointment to help drive rapid revenue growth for a multi-channel gaming business, an international concessions director for a leading casual dining organisation to help carve out international growth opportunities and a new managing director for a private-equity backed online travel organisation, tasked with driving strong global growth for a new division.

There are a number of diverse sub-sectors, encompassing tour operators and travel agencies, airlines, passenger rail and bus operators, theme parks, cruise operators, gaming and lottery companies, through to casual dining, pubs, restaurants, quick service restaurants, gyms, cinemas and foodservice and they all have a wide cross section of specific challenges to face. They are all dependent on consumer confidence and business sentiment and is facing increasing pressure to deliver innovation, quality and value. The industry is increasingly engaging with digitally active consumers who expect to be able to interact with brands on a personalised, multi-channel basis and who are harnessing social media and mobile technology at an ever-faster rate. There remains a heavy private-equity involvement in many of the verticals with interest in travel particularly hot at the moment.


Energy & Industrial Sector

Across asset heavy industries commercial positions, we are witnessing two key themes: the early stages of digital impact and localisation of commercial talent in emerging markets.

Digitisation is becoming an increasingly important part of the commercial mix. For example, Savannah has been supporting renewable energy and transport asset management companies who wish to develop more commercial approaches to asset performance and optimisation. As a result, our clients are investing heavily in a new breed of senior commercial people, who may well come from out of sector but can provide more holistic risk management perspectives and innovative value propositions to their businesses. To secure these people, requires communicating ‘the art of the possible’.

There is also an increasing demand for senior in-country commercial talent in emerging markets. In the past, these were usually expat positions but with increasing demands for localisation and in-country value, Savannah has been active in securing high calibre candidates who can give real value to their customer base on the ground as well as dealing with all international associated stakeholders. We have been active in West & North Africa as well as Asia.

If you want to learn more about our commercial practice or you are considering making a senior commercial appointment.

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