I started my foray into recruitment while at university. I became fairly entrepreneurial, as I didn’t have much money (like most students), and so started working for a local recruitment firm supplying fellow students for various assignments. Once I left university, I entered the recruitment industry and worked my way through to the senior end of the market. In 2007, I was approached to enter the interim management market and I’ve not looked back. Previously, I worked for EO Executives and Boyden.
I specialise in recruiting interim CFOs and immediate supporting roles for either listed businesses or private equity portfolio businesses going through times of change or where immediate impact is required. This is often a consequence of performance issues, a gap in competence or a need to accelerate the delivery of projects, among other varied drivers. My primary focus over the last 10 years has been the private equity market, and, more recently, the senior end of publicly listed businesses.
There are a number of practical ways in which I add value to a business, as the CFO and financial functions are generally accepted as a key pillar in any organisation. This is particularly true in private equity where they are on a fixed line cycle of, typically, 2 to 5 years before exit. Tolerating under-performance in a PE scenario can potentially cost up to 20–25% of a fund’s investment time, should they wait for a search to conclude before replacing a CFO. Our ability to engage with, and our close knowledge of, the very highest calibre of Executive Interim Managers allows firms to accelerate faster and not lose momentum on their investments. We are ultra-selective in who we allow to represent us, setting us apart from the crowd in the interim space.
I have quite an eclectic range of interests and a naturally inquisitive nature, which helps me to explore, at various depths, different characteristics about various industries. I thrive on knowing, particularly at this end of the market, that everything you do has a direct impact on the company. You can recognise that part of an organisation’s future success comes down to your diligence during the search for the right executive interim. It is essential that I uncover and assess the right solution on tight timescales, as the CFO in particular is a critical hire within most organisations.
One of the best parts of my job is the range of people I interact with, as well as the quality of the conversations I have with them. I regularly meet executives who have had a fascinating breadth of experiences and, as someone who loves people, I couldn’t think of a better occupation. This consistent engagement enables me to quickly spot certain qualities in people that many other professionals aren’t necessarily able to identify.
Why I like working at Savannah
At the top of the list, it has to be the people, as the calibre is extraordinarily high and everyone brings complementary skills to the table. The quality of the clients, and thus the work we deliver at Savannah, is motivating in itself. I like that, as Partners, we’re not removed from the day-to-day ‘cut and thrust’ of getting the job done. Culturally, there’s a marked absence of politics and there’s little hierarchy here. It’s just a group of people with a single focus of making our company successful.