Blackwood’s client is a very well known UK retail bank, headquartered in London with offices globally and additional business across asset management, investment banking and private equity. There had been a change of CEO and, as is often the case, a change of head of corporate development. The new head had a consulting background and the incumbent team had come from within the ranks mainly from a finance background. The decision was taken to augment the team with some M&A bankers from the major investment banks.
Blackwood worked closely with the Managing Director to look at other corporate development teams in the key competitors, as well as at the financial institutions teams in the large investment banks and those sitting outside of these teams but with a good understanding of the sector. The key requirements were to find people with a real understanding of the sector, ideally not just banking but also insurance and asset management, and the ability to build relationships and credibility with the senior management team across the business.
It was a straightforward mapping exercise of the investments banks and corporate development teams of other financial institutions. We were looking to build a team and therefore finding complimentary skills for the proposed five man team was important. The new head of the team was relatively inexperienced. The team had previously not been one with the highest reputation and was not a centre of excellence. Therefore the sell of the new strategy was key to attracting the right people. The main difficulties were always going to be compensation related and career trajectory. There was also the sensitivity around going to interview with a client and the possible negative repercussions of having done so. The hires needed to be able to move into line roles after three years and to be comfortable with this transition.
Blackwood appointed five people over a twelve month period. Of the first three senior hires, two came out of banking, one out of a large integrated house and one from a boutique, and one was a former banker who had already made the transition into corporate development. Blackwood completed full referencing throughout the process.