I’ve been working in search for pretty much my whole career. Having graduated with a degree in English but with no particular vocation in mind, I then disappeared backpacking for a year before returning to work for the travel business that had sold me my round-the-world ticket. I worked there for three years before a friend asked why I didn’t consider a move in to recruitment, as they thought I’d be good at it. Nearly 20 years later, I’m now a Partner at Savannah, having worked my way up through three different organisations. Previously, I worked at Hoggett Bowers and Boyden.
Tim has been a really useful point of contact for Burger King in the UK, providing our international leadership team with insight on the UK sector, market and where the best talent sits. He has always been extremely responsive, easy to deal with and has been a great personal help for me since arriving in the UK. He has been a genuine pleasure to work with.
– Gabriel Carvalho, HR Director, Burger King
My area of specialism has always centred around the leisure, travel and hospitality sectors, progressively working on ever-more senior assignments as I’ve got older, and now encompassing Chairman, NED and CEO opportunities, as well as big functional roles. When I started out in search, I primarily focused on marketing, sales, commercial and subsequently digital roles; these still make up a high percentage of my workload to this day, but I now also focus on operations and general management – in particular, Managing Director and COO appointments.
At the level at which we recruit, whether Chairmen, CEOs or functional leaders, our placements make a massive difference to an organisation’s future. The role of a successful search consultant has evolved over the years to be less about your ‘little black book’ and more about being a true consultant, advising clients about talent and wider business issues, challenging their thinking and preconceived ideas and guiding them to make better decisions about their senior leadership issues.
At the same time, as I have now been doing this for nearly two decades, I’ve built up a really deep and broad network of senior people. These contacts come in really useful, as we can deeply reference people even before getting to the shortlist, to understand what is behind the CV, what they’re really like and whether they’re likely to be a strong culture/skillset fit. Trust like this takes years to build, but it’s invaluable in helping your clients make the most informed decisions on their most crucial hires. I’ve always thought that if you’re prepared to work exceptionally hard and treat people the way you’d like to be treated, you won’t go far wrong.
Tim successfully helped me recruit our CEO. He delivered an exceptionally strong shortlist that provided real depth/breadth of choice. He’s straightforward to deal with, honest and upfront with his advice and guidance, and he worked at pace and put the hours in to ensure we got the result we needed in the timescales we needed. A first-rate job and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him or use him again.
– Hugh S C Morgan, Executive Chairman, Cosmos Tours & Cruises
There’s nothing better than delivering a great result for a client – where someone you have successfully placed does an outstanding job and progresses within an organisation or helps transform its performance. Developing deep, long-lasting relationships with people or organisations is enjoyable, as you get a crystal-clear sense of what will/will not work for them. It’s an overused term, but if you can evolve a relationship to the point where you’re seen as a trusted advisor on a personal level, I find that really satisfying.
I’ve always found it exceptionally easy to relate to the sectors I focus on, whether that be pubs/restaurants, exotic holidays, visitor attractions, hotels or health clubs. They’re fun, interesting sectors and most of the senior people in this space tend to be engaging, upbeat, consumer-focused leaders who are passionate about the products/services they sell and love leading the people that sell them. It’s a genuine pleasure to share time with them on a daily basis, many of them being at the forefront of some of the UK’s most well-known and well-loved brands. If you treat people well and deliver an outstanding service to clients and candidates alike, you can build enduring relationships/friendships, and I get a real buzz out of that.
Why I like working at Savannah
Many of the people who work for Savannah have previously worked for larger global search firms, where sometimes the close client care and delivery-focus gets diluted. Working for a boutique, we don’t have as many rules (or politics) to adhere to so we can truly place the clients at the centre of who we are and what we do. This often breeds high repeat business and a high referral rate to other organisations and I find that really satisfying. There is a real human element to the Partners at Savannah. We have some of the highest-billing Partners there are in our areas of specialism, but they’re all very grounded, well meaning, good fun, and, ultimately, nice people. We don’t tolerate prima donnas and we seek to work with like-minded individuals who are passionate and committed to their respective careers, but supportive, likeable and collaborative.
Selected client testimonials
We have worked closely with both Lisa Gerhardt and Tim Clouting on many executive hires. The service they provide is second to none; they have taken the time to understand our brand, mission, values and requirements and they have always worked at pace to deliver.
– Carol Muldoon, Vice President of Partner Resources, EMEA, Starbucks Coffee Company
Savannah has been a pleasure to work since becoming CEO and they have helped secure a number of critical members of my senior leadership team. While I have worked with several different Partners, they have all successfully delivered and seem united by a desire to get the right result for the client. They seem to have a unique ability to unearth great talent, finding candidates who aren’t looking, who excel in their field and who have ended up being critical to fulfilling our goals. In a world of many who promise, they deliver.
– Ian Brown, CEO, Rentalcars.com, Priceline Group
Tim has worked closely with Royal Caribbean for a number of years, helping with our senior talent requirements not only within the UK, but also in the Nordics, Germany, Italy, France and China. Tim is results-focused, straightforward, easy to deal with, a true subject matter expert in his sector and he truly cares about getting the right result for the client. Several of his placements have subsequently been promoted into bigger functional/regional roles within Royal Caribbean, which is a true indication that Tim has secured the right result for us time and time again.
– Stuart Leven, MD, EMEA, Royal Caribbean
It has been a pleasure to work with Tim. Tim has got to know and understand our business/culture over a number of years and shares a similar outlook on how to do business – focusing on the long term, treating people well, working hard, taking pride and delivering an outstanding experience. He doesn’t over-promise and the quality of advice and council I received throughout the recent process was fantastic. They went above and beyond to understand us as a client, getting to know our characteristics and how we think. Tim genuinely wants the right long-term result for the client.
– Jonathon Swaine, MD, Fuller’s Inn, Fuller, Smith and Turner
Tim did an outstanding job appointing one of my key direct reports. We had been searching for some time without success, whereupon we engaged Tim and Savannah to appoint a new Marketing and Digital Director. Culture fit is paramount for an organisation like ours and Tim did a wonderful job of presenting back an exceptionally strong shortlist, which gave us real depth and breadth of choice both in terms of level/experience, sector and personality. He did this really quickly, kept us updated throughout and navigated us safely through to a great result. A genuine expert in his sector, I would recommend him highly and will look forward to working with him again.
– Kerry Golds, Managing Director, Abercrombie & Kent
Tim worked with us on a very challenging and critical hire, one we had grappled with unsuccessfully over a number of years. He helped advise from the very early stages and identified new areas of the market to search. What really stood out was the deep sector knowledge, strong functional understanding and a clear view of our culture. Tim produced a really strong and diverse shortlist against a complex and difficult brief and gave us genuinely interesting choice, with candidates from different sectors with therefore different functional strengths. We would not hesitate to work with them again
– Paul Ludlow, Managing Director and SVP, P&O Cruises
Tim immediately understood what we were looking for and moved at lightning speed to find it – a critical strategic Managing Director hire to sit on our ExCo to help with our transformation. I was fully confident of his industry knowledge, track record and network. I’ve known him for a long time and he’s trustworthy, genuinely cares about the result and I would happily endorse him as he delivered against a tough brief in really impressive timescales
– Andrew Swaffield, CEO, Monarch airline