John Ellis


John is an advisor to Savannah Group. As the former founder and CEO, he has over 20 years’ experience in executive search. He led the firm as CEO from 2003 and was a member of the Board Practice. He now holds an advisory role.

My story

After 11 years of working with IBM, I was headhunted to join a different technology business by another large global search firm. The move turned out to be a disaster and, when I went back to the firm that headhunted me, they suggested a career switch to executive search. Before joining Savannah, I worked with Heidrick & Struggles and Norman Broadbent and I also led two successful start-ups.

My focus

Having worked in the technology industry in the early part of my career, I have always retained a specialisation in this market. More recently, however, I have focused more on board appointments across all market sectors, with a particular focus on Chairmen and Non-Executive Directors for mid-sized and high-growth companies. My work spans private, publicly quoted and private equity-backed businesses.

My motivation

I particularly enjoyed putting together a team of outstanding search professionals and seeing our business grow and develop. I have always felt there is a demand in the search market for a ‘challenger’ brand that is prepared to challenge the model and the way that search has typically been undertaken. It is very gratifying that so many of our clients seem to agree.

I have many interests and passions outside of work. These include my family, sport (golf in particular) and travel. I enjoy good food and good wines. I have also recently started collecting craft gins.

Why I like working at Savannah

The Savannah brand is enabling us to take the firm in a new direction. This is a direction that will recognise that our market has changed and that our clients often now require a different service from their search partner – a service that is flexible, specialist, global and integrated.

Where we work

Global coverage

Our global model ensures that the partner who you have the relationship with, and is best placed to deliver the best results, runs the search from start to end, with the support of local market knowledge where it’s needed.
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