Blackwood’s client is a privately owned wealth advisory business that has seen considerable growth since re-launching in 2010. The business offers fee-based independent financial advice and investment management services to private clients with investable assets in excess of £100,000. The business has acquired a number of smaller companies in the IFA space as it looks to strengthen its position in a fragmented sector. The board, sponsors and management were considering an IPO and were looking to strengthen the board well in advance of this.
Blackwood was mandated to search for a Non-Executive Director with a finance background. Given the nature of the business, and that financial rigour, risk and compliance are vital for any financial service provider, this individual was also likely to be senior independent director. The potential for IPO made this hire even more critical. Candidates were likely to have a background as the CFO of a large listed entity with IPO and strong regulatory experience also being important factors. A working knowledge of the broad financial services sector was also preferable but not essential.
The search process was relatively straightforward: a research stage followed by a targeted long list and then client interviews. The complexity came from two concurrent searches with two different providers – it was important to keep up to date with the progress with the other search as there was some overlap with the two specifications. In addition, the interview panel had two sets of candidates to meet in a relatively short space of time. However, we were able to move quickly due to our knowledge of the CFO market seeking NED roles of this nature. We had spent the prior six months speaking to the current and former FTSE 350 CFOs understanding their appetite/capacity for a NED role.
Blackwood appointed the former CFO of a large listed global consumer and hospitality business. This individual had sound knowledge of the financial services sector, predominantly as a non-executive but had strong experience of IPOing businesses. This individual had strong non-executive director experience and was appointed senior independent director on joining the board and as Chairman soon thereafter.