Executive search and selection case studies
Hanover Fox International brings its search consulting expertise to a broad range of clients, resulting in successful senior executive and board appointments.
Here are a few examples of recent assignments:
Clinton Devon Estate
When searching for a new trustee to oversee the operation of Clinton Devon Estates, which comprises 10,000 hectares across East and North Devon, the board chose Hanover Fox to manage the appointment.
Charles Fane Trefusis explains: “Hanover Fox helped us appoint a new Estates Director over 17 years ago and he is still with us, so we knew their pedigree. We did meet with a number of other firms, but we felt Hanover Fox offered a more personal touch.
“In addition to farming and forestry, we operate a range of rural businesses and a portfolio of residential and commercial property. We needed someone who could offer positive input across all these areas.
Hanover Fox provided a wide selection of candidates from diverse backgrounds. We conducted initial interviews with Hanover Fox in their London offices and their insight was much appreciated.
We invited a shortlist of three candidates who seemed to have the best chemistry and experience down to Devon. Our appointee came from the London property world, but lived in the country and had his heart in rural affairs. A perfect background for us."
“I think Hanover Fox are polite, friendly and easy to work with. They spent time getting to know us and understood what we wanted. I think that kind of groundwork allows them to present better candidates.”
Edward Crookes, the Estate Director for Englefield Estate in West Berkshire, went straight to Hanover Fox to appoint a new Finance Director. Edward explains:
“This is a senior post and we needed to move very quickly. Hanover Fox have strength in the Estates sector and are very good at what they do. We didn’t want to waste time with the wrong people.”
“This is a challenging role. We needed someone with the attention to detail of a forensic accountant with the ability to cope with the diverse financial demands of a complex Estate. At the same time, they needed to be able to play the role of a strategic business partner at Board level, clearly advising on a quite complicated business.”
Hanover Fox created a longlist in a short period of time and interviewed the most promising, creating candidate reports to discuss with Edward. Hanover Fox then sat in on the first round of interviews.
Edward says: “The Hanover Fox candidate reports are excellent and their due diligence is invaluable. They proved to be a valuable sounding board at the interviews. We found an excellent candidate from outside the Estates sector. Three months in he is already proving his worth.
“What is interesting is how highly the candidates speak of Hanover Fox. They obviously treat them well. It’s important a search firm represents us in the right way. I would definitely recommend Hanover Fox.”
Chief Operating Officer
When Richard Hampton, Managing Director of OMSCO, (Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative) created the new role of Chief Operating Officer, he went straight to Hanover Fox.
“For a senior position like this I didn’t want to limit us to people looking for a job. I wanted to approach people in work. We needed a very particular cultural fit too; I wanted someone with intellectual curiosity and a self-start attitude who could thrive in a new role within a relatively unstructured business.”
From a pre-vetted longlist provided by Hanover Fox with candidate summaries, Richard chose seven people for initial interview at Hanover Fox’s offices in Bristol. He then invited four back for a second round.
“The research Hanover Fox did with candidates at the outset ensured I only saw very capable people and I am really pleased with the appointment.
“When you are a £100m organisation with just 20 people, individuals and relationships are critical. You get a higher quality from Hanover Fox and that’s worth paying for. I would recommend them and I have already briefed them on another appointment.”
“For me, using Hanover Fox is like having a personal shopper instead of going to a supermarket. They are a class apart when it comes to personalisation. They take a lot of hassle out of it. They were excellent throughout."
Lord Rayleigh's Farms
Head of Finance
When the board concluded that the Estate that bears his name would benefit from creating a new role of Head of Finance, Lord Rayleigh says that he had no hesitation in turning to the professionals.
“We had a history of failure in recruiting and had lost confidence in our own ability. We know how time-consuming the process can be. We also know how costly a mistake can be and the immense value the right person can add.
Hanover Fox visited the Estate and spent a long time with us, helping to define the role, which includes managing commercial and residential property as well as our agriculture businesses.
When Hanover Fox provided the CVs and candidates reports on a long list, I was unsure any of them would fit. Hanover Fox told me this was not an unusual reaction and that I should wait until the interviews.
They were absolutely right. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the candidates we met at Hanover Fox’s offices in London. When we invited the two star candidates back to Essex I felt either of them would have done an excellent job. Our preferred candidate has high-level experience and I’m sure she will hit the ground running when she starts.
I think Hanover Fox were really good at helping us sort out what we were looking for and what the candidate strengths and weaknesses were. Would we have found this calibre of candidates without them? Probably not."
"They have excellent farming and estates experience and I would recommend anyone in this sector to consider Hanover Fox for senior appointments."
The Addington Fund
As Chair of Trustees for the Addington Fund, a national farming charity, it fell to Sheila Cole to head-up the search for a new CEO. Sheila explains she initially felt slightly daunted by the task.
“The previous CEO had been in post since the charity’s inception 17 years before, so we had never recruited at this level. As a charity I wanted the whole process to be wholly independent and I knew we would need guidance to get the right person.
“Hanover Fox were highly recommended and they put me at ease from the moment we met at their London offices. They explained how it would all work and they visited us in Warwickshire to get a thorough understanding of what we do.
“From paper, I wasn’t entirely sure about the long list, but Hanover Fox had met or spoken to every candidate, which adds personality and brings them alive as people. That was really helpful. We interviewed four people with Hanover Fox and then invited two finalists back to Warwickshire. We unanimously agreed on the preferred candidate.
“Hanover Fox were professional and considerate at all times. They took on board what we wanted. They were always available and constantly in touch. Nobody minded my numerous questions and they gave me great confidence throughout. I would highly recommend them.”
Managing Director, Dairy Division
Hanover Fox were engaged to source a Divisional Finance Director for Avon Dairy Solutions, a division of Avon Rubber plc with a turnover of £50m within the wider group revenue of £150m.
The company focusses on the design, development and manufacture of high technology milking point equipment for the global dairy industry.
"With revenue and profit growing and brand awareness increasing, the role needed to have strong commercial financial experience as well as being able to support further organic growth and potential acquisitions.
The specification and briefing of the organisation, role and candidate was a very good process, was very proactive, and took a lot of pressure off us.
There was a good sifting of candidates throughout the process. At the 1:1 longlist meeting between Avon Dairy Solutions and Hanover Fox, I was confident they had the right type of people in the mix, and the right quality."
"In summary, Hanover Fox understood our requirements, sifted the candidates very well against an accurate job specification, and put candidates in front of us that could add real value to Avon Rubber."
Royal Astronomical Society
The role of Executive Director at the Royal Astronomical Society requires a particular skillset, balancing the learned society’s scientific aims with commercial, publishing and operational imperatives.
Nigel Berman, the Society’s treasurer who oversaw this crucial appointment, considered a number of Executive Search firms before appointing Hanover Fox.
“Hanover Fox’s experience with a wide range of appointments from other academic institutions to city livery companies gave us confidence they were the right people for us.
After an initial brief, I took a very light touch. They came back with a long-list of 12 names, each accompanied by insightful candidate reports. We interviewed six candidates and Hanover Fox then helped us to narrow the field to three for a second interview.
In the end I was confident each of those three could have done an excellent job. It then came down to a matter of style and the direction in which they might lead the Society."
“Hanover Fox gave us an invaluable outside perspective in honing our choices, as well as providing the resources, expertise and reach to attract candidates we simply couldn't have done on our own. They were open and engaging and I would certainly recommend them.”
The Worshipful Company of Barbers
Clerk of the Company
When The Worshipful Company of Barbers, one of the City of London’s oldest livery companies, needed a new Clerk to head up its activities, they invited five executive search companies to present their credentials.
Tony Hoskinson, the Master-elect who oversaw the appointment, says the decision to appoint Hanover Fox was an easy one.
“What Hanover Fox understood is that the Clerk sets the tenor. They are the glue. They are effectively the CEO, but they work for the Court and the Company. It requires great sensitivity and hard work. Cultural fit is so important.
Hanover Fox ran national advertising as well as tapping into their own extensive network to get a broad field. They whittled the applications down to 12 or 13 for us all to discuss. They then held pre-interviews to shortlist five.
“Hanover Fox sat in on the interviews and we valued their input. All of the candidates could have done the job. We invited two back for a second interview and had a unanimous decision on a favoured candidate.
“Our previous Clerk has been exemplary, so this is a tough act to follow. We are delighted with the appointment and I would highly recommend Hanover Fox. They kept us involved and informed. I was assured by their professionalism and never doubted they would get the best candidate for the role”
"They had more recent relevant experience in acting for livery companies similar to our own. They understood us better, and they asked us challenging questions that really got us thinking."
Director of HR and Residential Services
Hartpury College and University Centre, one of the UK’s leading land-based and sports educational establishments, needed to recruit a new Chief Operating Officer (COO).
Having advertised the position themselves, the College were unsure about the quality of candidates they had attracted and so reached out to Hanover Fox to supplement their applicants with an executive search process.
Lesley Worsfold, Director of HR and Residential Services, says it was important to ensure they had a strong field.
“We are in an important period as we are looking to move towards University status. The COO role is vital to the College’s future
“Hanover Fox came in to ensure they understood the role, the culture and the changing scope. They then searched their networks and produced a pre-assessed long list. Together we reduced this down to six candidates for an Assessment Centre process.
“As an educational establishment, the Board of Governors has to make senior appointments. Hanover Fox’s Candidate Summary Reports were invaluable in giving them an independent expert view and really helpful in providing focus for each interview."
"I would definitely recommend Hanover Fox. We were under a tight time pressure. They were professional, responsive, open and transparent. They delivered on the timeframe. I think Hanover Fox are a very professional firm who always find good quality and I would most certainly recommend them.”