Case Studies

International CFO, Belgium

The Client

International healthcare company

The Role

Global shortlist. Successful candidate had previously been working in South America

 Candidates must have the potential to move into international CFO role, but be happy to remain in current role for some time

 Very strong people-management skills needed to implement structural changes and potential internal issues

 Technical financial accounting background, good experience of US GAAP and working with/acting as business partner to sales and marketing teams

 Happy to travel extensively; international outlook; language skills; ideally healthcare or pharma experience

The Challenge

 Strict budget controls on salary package, but needed CFO-ready candidates although there was no clear timeline on when promotion might take place

Our Strategy

 To search internationally, particularly seeking individuals with relevant industry sector experience who were keen to work in or return to Belgium

The result

 Global shortlist including candidate from South America

 Successful hire within budget: candidate ultimately promoted to CFO role

 

Head of Finance, South Korea

The Client

Top 10 pharmaceutical company

The Role

Strategic hire, initially heading up finance in South Korea as part of a programme to bring in very high-potential finance talent

Strong academic background

Language skills

International experience in pharma or healthcare sectors

The Challenge

Experience of working in the Far East and understanding of culture was essential

Needed combination of strong technical finance skills with broad commercial finance experience

Looking for a candidate able to drive change and progress quickly within the organisation

Our Strategy

Global search, identifying combination of pharma and Far East experience

The Result

Candidate hired from Europe, with experience of working in Asia

Promoted from Head of Finance, South Korea to CFO for Japan in under two years

Subsequently further promoted in less than 18 months to regional role with responsibility for Asia and Russia

Global Head of M&A

The Client

Top-tier pharma company

The Role

 Advise and execute major M&A activities across the group

 Lead a strong in-house team of ten

 Very visible: direct report into the group CFO and key member of the investment committee

 Potential to have a transformational impact at both divisional and corporate level

 Work closely with all BU leaders/franchises

 Improve capital allocation and implement a portfolio approach

The Challenge

Global competition for serious players in the M&A market and high financial rewards in investment banking.  Individuals from investment banking will have to fit with the corporate culture, possess excellent people leadership skills, navigate the matrix and rely on less support.

Our Strategy

 To find an exceptional deal-doer while focusing on soft skills. 

The Result

 Successful candidate found, combining business and academic, scientific background.  Previously at a global investment bank in New York, consistently ranked top of global VP class for four consecutive years.  Moved to London to head up European Healthcare for leading investment Bank; promoted at earliest opportunity and built leading European biotech franchise.

 

Head of Global Shared Services for Accounting, Germany

The Client

Major international media company

The Role

Required the knowledge and experience to develop and implement strategy to integrate global shared services and move to a truly 21st century model

German speaker

Strategic and implementation skills essential Able to generate buy-in to the shared services project

The Challenge

Challenging location – not an international hub

German language skills and cultural expertise essential, combined with international outlook and experience

Our Strategy

Identified companies internationally that had successfully developed state-of-the-art shared services

Sell the challenge of transforming the company’s archaic systems

The Result

Successful hire within time and budget

Candidate had considerable experience of large-scale SAP implementation

Promoted within 18 months of joining

Global Head of Corporate FP&A, Switzerland

The Client

Global leader in life sciences

The Role

Newly-appointed group CFO working to develop world-class finance function

As part of this process, hiring for a new role: Global Head of Corporate FP&A

Experience of leading financial transformation essential

The Challenge

Global role requiring international experience and mindset

Requires a talented, robust yet diplomatic candidate

Our Strategy

Focus on major corporates with reputation for recruiting and developing exceptional talent

Selling the newness of the role and the opportunity to create a function with potential to have a major impact on business profitability

The Result

Successful candidate had developed career to date in leading corporates

Previously Head of Finance, Latin America

Regional Business Leader, UK and Ireland

The Client

Innovative healthcare services business

The Role

Developing business across the region by devising innovative solutions and negotiating long-term contracts

Complex solution-selling to hospitals and other healthcare providers

Broad understanding of healthcare essential in order to understand clients’ needs, combined with detailed understanding of UK funding frameworks, tendering and contract negotiation

Very strong academic background and exceptional analytical skills

The Challenge

Speed was essential as incumbent was imminently moving to new role

Strong preference for medical doctor or scientific background with commercial experience

High travel content

Very competitive market

Our Strategy

Identify individuals with scientific PhD or MD who have worked either in major strategy firms or leading healthcare corporates, with considerable hospital experience

Use our extensive database of contacts within UK healthcare, built up over 25 years, to network and identify exceptional individuals

The Result

Excellent candidate with considerable UK health sector and deal-closure experience

Previously UK Commercial Lead for leading med-tech group

Head of Finance, Manufacturing and Production Facility, France

The Client

Top 10 global pharmaceutical company

The Role

 Good experience of manufacturing finance in healthcare sector

 Required gravitas and strong personality

 Act as business partner to general manager

The Challenge

 Salary level was relatively low in comparison to the necessary experience, driven by location issues

 Candidates must be clearly better than a potential internal candidate yet be affordable within the salary restrictions

 A difficult location particularly for younger candidates, who often want to work in major cities

 Internal recruiters had been searching for several months without success

Our Strategy

 To search globally rather than just locally due to the very specific experience needed

 Focus on individuals with manufacturing experience in pharmaceutical companies

 Identify candidates who, whilst young, were comfortable with a location outside a major city

The Result

 Shortlist of six strong contenders submitted within agreed time-frame

 Successful candidate hired from outside France, bringing additional international experience – speaks fluent French, English and Spanish

 MBA-qualified candidate hired within budget, whole career spent in healthcare with considerable manufacturing experience

 Client very pleased, particularly after difficulties experienced by internal recruiters

Chief of Staff to VP Strategy and Corporate Development

The Client

World-leading medical technology company, HQ in Sweden

The Role

 Chief of Staff to a very charismatic and successful business leader

 Front line role combining corporate strategy and management consulting skills with commercial and operational exposure

 Broad scope comprising other key elements such as M&A projects, performance improvement, competitive intelligence, product launches and entry to new markets

 Intellectual agility is a must-have, together with the confidence and experience to interact at board level

 Fast-track route to become a business leader

The Challenge

 Difficult location; over 70% business travel globally

Our Strategy

 To select ambitious candidates with broad background from both top-tier management consulting firms and operational companies.  Must thrive on extensive travel and the opportunity to learn from a highly respected, demanding business leader

The Result

 Successful trilingual female candidate with finance, M&A and strategy experience gained from corporate, investment banking and management consulting.  A true high-potential talent, identified as a rising star. 

 

International BD Director, Singapore

The Client

Global hospitals and healthcare financing group

The Role

Healthcare project finance experience essential

Based in Far East, but international role

Requires excellent project management skills

Ability to sell complex solutions

The Challenge

Small pool of candidates with relevant experience and expertise

High travel content

Our Strategy

Use well-developed network of contacts in healthcare and related sectors to identify high-potential candidates

The Result

Combined international management consulting background with entrepreneurial project finance experience in healthcare sector

Record of bidding, winning and closing deals as sponsor and financial adviser in Europe and Far East

Regional CFO, Nordics

The Client

Global luxury goods company

The Role

 Superb CFO and business partner role in its fullest sense; right-hand to the CEO of the largest BU of the group

Candidate must be able to execute and champion the regional agenda whilst supporting the finance function at HQ level

Combine local cultural fit with international background

International mobility crucial for future career development

The Challenge

 Major company, highly innovative and profitable, yet Finance function not as well-established as their peers.  Candidates must be willing to be hands-on at times

Our Strategy

To search globally, particularly seeking individuals with Nordic background keen to return to their roots

The Result

 Shortlist presented representing cultural and gender diversity talent

 Successful female Swedish candidate from a global FMCG in Middle East

VP Performance Economics, France

 

The Client

Global pharma company

The Role

Highly visible role with major business impact, reviewing effectiveness in relation to competitors across all major business areas

Using performance economics data combined with commercial expertise to inform strategic planning and business decisions

Requires detailed understanding of business internationally

Newly-created role in a period of huge transformation within the company

The Challenge

An unusual role: senior and highly influential but without profit responsibility or a large team of people

Few comparable roles in other corporates making a straightforward search exercise difficult

Mix of skills and experience essential, combining analytical and technical mindset with strong commercial intelligence and excellent presentation and influencing skills

Our Strategy

Focus on individuals with excellent academic achievement and experience in major strategy firms, to provide the balance between analytical and business expertise

Identify organisations using performance economics successfully and look at relevant individuals within those businesses

The Result

Outstanding candidate with experience gained at McKinsey and two major international corporates

International background, fluent in six languages

CEO, PE-backed SME, Switzerland

 

The Client

International private equity company

The Role

CEO for a long-established Swiss SME

Required turn-around skills and the ability to develop strategy to increase sales and bring new products to market within tight budget restrictions

Ultimate aim was to increase profitability and achieve a successful exit

The Challenge

Confidential search

Urgency to find replacement CEO

Looking for successful sales and marketing experience in a major corporate combined with turn-around expertise as CEO of SME

Detailed understanding of Swiss business culture combined with international experience and mindset

Knowledge of leisure and sports goods sector

Our Strategy

Having successfully handled many searches in Switzerland, we have a well-developed network of candidates and sources in the region

Also conducted international search of candidates with previous experience of living or working in Switzerland

The Result

Successfully introduced select shortlist of candidates whilst maintaining absolute confidentiality

New CEO hired and on-boarded quickly

Business turn-around achieved

Company successfully sold in little over one year

CEO, UK PE-backed company

 

The Client

European private equity fund recruiting CEO for specialist UK-based manufacturing SME with European subsidiaries marketing its products internationally

The Role

Business experiencing complicated and sensitive internal upheaval at Board level

Highly confidential search to replace CEO quickly without causing concern in the marketplace or within the business

Required ability to integrate recent European acquisitions as well as increasing sales and profitability

The Challenge

Identifying individuals who had the necessary skills and knowledge of small niche market sector whilst at the same time maintaining confidentiality

PE backers also sought candidates with experience of working with private equity and achieving successful turn-around or sale

Our Strategy

Identified all competitor companies, including major corporates with smaller subsidiaries

Located CEOs or those one tier below with the potential to move into a CEO role, particularly focusing on individuals

Combining experience in large corporates and smaller entrepreneurial businesses

The Result

CEO appointed

Successful integration of subsidiaries and achievement of business synergies

Grown the business, developed new products and expanded into new international markets

 

VP Finance, USA

The Client

Mid-cap healthcare company

The Role

 CFO within the largest region of the Group

 Act as trusted advisor to a newly-appointed CEO

 Large, diverse finance team with different skills and levels of abilities

 Previous incumbent began the process of setting up a centre of excellence; launch date within a year

 Superb branded products but operating in a very competitive market

The Challenge

Company very profitable at group level, but US sales had suffered

Our Strategy

To search for finance leaders with proven successful experience of delivering significant improvement to business productivity

The Result

Successful European green-card holder candidate with broad commercial finance experience gained from a number of roles in different locations across the globe.  Most recently responsible for restoring growth and profitability to a mature business.

Gender and Cultural Diversity – developing a talent pipeline

 

The Client

Top 10 pharmaceutical company

The Roles

Career-mobile individuals able to move into senior leadership roles internationally

Part of an on-going initiative to develop a pipeline of talent, particularly very high-potential female candidates

Strong academic background

Language skills

Ideally international experience in pharma or healthcare sectors

The Challenge

At least 50% of all shortlisted candidates to be women

Career mobility: willingness to consider opportunities anywhere in the world

Keen to increase cultural diversity in senior roles

Our Strategy

Maintained emphasis internally on ensuring systems, processes and training focused on promotion of diversity

Set objective of exceeding 50% target for every assignment

The Result

Over a 24-month period achieved 50% or better gender balance on shortlists

HR Services, UK and Europe

 

The Client

Successful US company making first European acquisition

The Challenge

As part of the acquisition process the company needed to make a European board appointment

Whilst familiar with US salaries and contract terms, the client had no experience of European contracts or salary levels

Our Service

Advised client on UK salary levels and executive rewards, providing research-based evidence on typical remuneration packages

Worked with client to arrive at contractual terms and rewards that met the needs of US rewards culture and UK legislation

Reviewed proposed draft contract, identifying areas of concern representing potential threats to the success of the assignment and advising on necessary changes

The Result

Successfully completed search to hire Commercial Director

Working closely with the investor company and the candidate, ensured that contract terms met all legal requirements and were acceptable to both sides

Offer and acceptance process concluded swiftly and with minimal investment of the client’s time

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