Blackwood’s client was a market leader in the UK specialist care home sector providing a range of care and support solutions for people with learning disabilities, acquired brain injuries and other complex needs. It operated more than 275 units totalling 2,000 places with 6,000 employees. The business had a turnover of £135m and EBITDA of £35m, and had been bought by a mid-market private equity house three years earlier.
Blackwood was retained to undertake a talent mapping of the UK healthcare provider universe in order to identify a CEO successor. The CEO designate would prepare the business for the next stage of its development, reappraise the group’s strategy and drive the business through to exit, probably by way of trade sale or IPO. The previous CEO was expected to remain on the board as a Non-Executive Director. The ideal candidate would have experience of running a multisite consumer facing business.
Blackwood undertook a research project to map the CEOs, CFOs and COOs of all comparable businesses, and a further separate piece of work looking at best in class CEOs and CFOs from non-healthcare businesses – ideally multisite consumer facing companies. A list of UK care businesses and related multisite healthcare groups was compiled and sources from each identified. Blackwood spoke with the investor community and leavers from the target companies to assess the care market, and created a longlist of senior management talent (including both established CEOs from comparably sized businesses, and high quality divisional managers with the ability to step up). The mapping was completed within one month from commencement of the assignment, and all candidates were referenced prior to any approach.
Blackwood identified and introduced a number of high quality candidates from the healthcare industry, and then broadened the pool to candidates with multisite retail or leisure experience. One of these lateral ideas was subsequently appointed, and remains in the CEO role today.