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We help our clients make informed decisions

We focus on your specific needs, whether your business is changing, facing disruption, undergoing strategic activity or simply optimising growth and opportunity. We provide advice and solutions that enable and ensure success.

  • Advisory services

    We provide a range of advisory services to assist our clients with human capital strategy, planning and development, including:

    • Compensation surveys and benchmarking

    • Organisational structure reviews

    • Board reviews

    • Management communication and effectiveness reviews

    • Diversity and culture

    • Succession planning

  • Executive assessment and development

    We help our clients make informed people decisions. We identify and measure the critical factors for success as well as advising on how to maximise an individual’s performance and chances of success in role. Our work lies predominantly in three areas:

    • Assessment for selection – helping our clients make the optimal hire through predicting both an individual’s ability to execute the requirements and challenges of a new role effectively and their alignment to culture and strategy.

    • Development – working with senior leaders to enhance their performance and achieve their career potential. We combine assessment with a targeted development plan and a one-on-one coaching programme. Find out more about coaching

    • Assessment of leadership teams so that data-driven decisions can be made on the complementarity of their skillset and the development actions needed to harness or supplement it.

    • Amanda Smithson

      Amanda Smithson

      Managing Partner

      Amanda Smithson
      Amanda Smithson
      +44 (0)20 7220 0273

      Amanda is the Managing Partner and a member of the Investment Banking, Private Equity, Board and Executive Assessment practices. She advises on leadership development, team effectiveness and senior appointments across investment banking, private equity and the boardroom. Prior to Blackwood, Amanda worked at Morgan Stanley; she spent ten years in Mergers & Acquisitions in London and New York before becoming COO of the Investment Banking Division EMEA. She is a certified professional executive coach, Meyler Campbell Mastered, AC and WABC accredited and qualified with the British Psychological Society in psychometrics, including Hogan, FIRO-B, NEO PI-R, Wave, G-LJI, LJI, Implicitly®, TKI and MBTI®.

      Prior experience: Morgan Stanley

      Education: English & Law at Cambridge University

    • James Barker

      James Barker


      James Barker
      James Barker
      +44 (0)20 7220 0290

      James co-leads the Leadership Advisory practice. He specialises in leadership assessments and executive coaching, supporting business leaders with decisions as part of Board or Senior Leadership restructuring or development, M&A due diligence, succession planning or culture change processes. James has extensive international experience working with clients across a diverse range of sectors. He is certified in a variety of psychometric assessment tools, has partnered clients to develop and implement a range of leadership and functional competency frameworks and is a valued executive coach.

      Prior experience: Mercuri Urval, Frost & Sullivan

      Education: Sociology at Durham University; MBA at Warwick Business School

  • Executive search

    Our thorough and extensive research, due diligence, referencing, interviewing and assessment are all conducted with a precise understanding of the competencies required to achieve sustainable success within our clients’ businesses. We operate as one team, allowing us to identify and attract the broadest range of international and cross-sectoral candidates.

  • Transaction services

    Understanding the value creation thesis and its delivery is a vital part of any investment. We help our clients understand the risks in a transaction, determine the right valuation, formulate the business growth and improvement strategy and plan for the post-deal implementation.

    We provide a range of services to support our private equity clients in evaluating an acquisition target:

    • Market and competitive intelligence

    • Management benchmarking, assessment and referencing

    • Introduction of advisers

    • Identification of buy-in management teams