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Fiona Motley


Fiona has over 20 years’ executive search experience advising clients on their complex talent requirements on a broad range of Board and senior level appointments across multiple sectors and geographies. Fiona has a strong track record within HR having supported global clients in appointing senior HR professionals across the entire HR function. In addition to partnering with HR leaders, her Board network is extensive, and she places Chair and Non-Executive Directors across the FTSE100, 250 and Small Cap as well as in privately owned and private equity backed businesses.

My story

I began my career in strategy consulting with Bain and subsequently Booz Allen before moving into executive search; the attraction being the opportunity to continue to add value to clients but from the people perspective. I have always been fascinated by people and this was the aspect of my role that I had most enjoyed as I had seen how critical to commercial success it was to have the right people with the appropriate skills, experience and behaviours in place.

Throughout my executive search career my experience includes having worked with Russell Reynolds, Odgers, Whitehead Mann/Korn Ferry, Inzito, The Miles Partnership and Walter James.

Fiona is an absolute joy to work with. We’ve worked together on two very difficult assignments (Group HRD and Group Head of Security), and on both occasions she delivered beyond expectations. She challenged both briefs with a steely determination to ensure that we were both on the same page in terms of role / person specification, and most importantly the very real issue of cultural fit with this particular organisation. Throughout both processes her client / candidate management skills were first class and testimony to the professionalism which she demonstrates in everything she does. In addition, she’s great fun to work with and I would love to do so again!

– Kevin Ringrose, former Interim Group People & Change Director, 2 Sisters Food Group

My focus

As my career within executive search developed, working internationally across all industry sectors and a variety of functions, I increasingly focused on Chair and NED appointments. Additionally, I became increasingly drawn to roles within HR and was keen to make this function my primary specialism whilst also continuing to handle Board appointments. Savannah has always enjoyed an enviable reputation with impressive credentials within the HR function and I joined Savannah to be able to build on the firm’s track record whilst adding my experience and knowledge to strengthen its already extensive global network within the HR community.

Nanoco Group plc was looking for an exceptional profile; someone with relevant industry experience in young companies, yet deeply rooted in governance while enhancing the Board’s diversity.  Fiona came up with an impressive slate of candidates in short order, from which two excellent candidates emerged.  Both company and candidates were guided through the process with consummate skill; made it all very easy.

– Chris Richards, Non Executive Chairman, Nanoco Technologies Ltd.

My motivation

I get my energy from engaging with people and I am genuinely fascinated by everyone’s story and I feel incredibly privileged to have found a job in which I can meet with so many varied and interesting people. The additional bonus for me is that I add value to our clients commercial success though selecting and assessing the best candidates for roles and enhance peoples’ lives through finding them a role in which they will thrive and that continues to develop their career and enhance their skills.

Why I like working at Savannah

I am thrilled to have joined an incredibly forward-thinking business that is highly regarded for its functional and sector expertise globally. I had held the business in high regard for some time prior to landing here as I already knew a number of partners and some of my former colleagues who had joined were all extremely happy and spoke highly of the culture and values of the business.

Without doubt, Savannah is the most collaborative and quality driven firm that I have ever worked for and I am pleased to be working alongside colleagues who are professional, consultative, authentic and who really care and are passionate about striving for excellence and quality. It is also great to work in an environment in which everyone works hard but also has fun and in which no one takes themselves too seriously.

Fiona has helped me with a number of NED appointments over the years.  She has a knack of understanding the Board’s needs and matching those with appropriate candidates. She has had to deal with some sensitive issues and always done that with tact.

– Richard Laing, Chair, 3i Infrastructure plc and elsewhere

Fiona Motley's 
Specialism & Experience
People & CultureBoardExecutive SearchSuccession Planning

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