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:
Group Financial Controller
When HoMedics, a world leader in personal wellness, needed to recruit a new Group Financial Controller, they immediately instructed Hanover Fox.
Financial Director, Swarup Banerjee explains: “We have used Hanover Fox for senior appointments many times over the years. They understand that our business culture is very entrepreneurial. We need senior people who can scale up and down. We wanted an individual who can view the business from a higherlevel one day and then roll their sleeves up and get stuck into the detail the next.
“The initial candidates Hanover Fox presented were interesting because they were all very capable, but very different. After one round of interviews we quickly focused on a top two, but things were then very close. Hanover Fox provided a great sounding board at this stage, helping us to evaluate strengths and weaknesses.
When we made our decision, Hanover Fox handled the offer, which was straightforward because they had helped us to define the package at the beginning and had managed expectations with all the candidates."
“What I particularly like about Hanover Fox is that they give us clear guidelines, procedures and timelines, so we always know what we are heading for. They consistently find us excellent people who compliment our own skills. It’s not a inexpensive process, but for senior level positions, it’s worth it.”
Ernest Cook Trust
Director of Property
Ernest Cook Trust, the UK’s leading outdoor learning charity, needed a new Director of Property. CEO Victoria Edwards says the trustees went straight to Hanover Fox.
“The trustees had looked at a number of search firms with our last senior appointment and chose Hanover Fox because they really understood us, both as an educational charity and an active estate with land ownership.
“For this role, Hanover Fox took care of everything, from drafting the advertisement to vetting and pre-interviewing. They then invited us to review a long-list of 10 candidates, each accompanied by thorough notes.
“We interviewed five candidates in Hanover Fox’s London offices before inviting three down to Gloucestershire for a second interview and to meet the team. All three were excellent candidates, but we reached a unanimous decision on our chosen candidate..
“Hanover Fox add value in so many ways. Having their London offices is useful, to secure candidate confidentiality and have somewhere central to meet. It would be easy to underestimate the amount of time saved on administration, sifting through applications, vetting, recommending (and rejecting). Of course the biggest benefit is their expertise in helping us to source candidates, narrow the field and assess each one.
“Overall I would say that they are incredibly professional. The fact that references come with a long note, including recommendations from previous employers on how to get the best out of the individual, speaks volumes for their professionalism to the end.”
Building Materials Company
A Hanover Fox assignment for a senior appointment in a national building materials company has highlighted the benefits of executive search.
One of the investors explained: “The company we were recruiting for operates in an ‘incestuous industry’ where everyone knows everyone else. We felt that it was really important – for the potential candidates and for the business – that enquiries were made sensitively and in confidence."
"The new CEO would be coming into a previously owner-managed business, with the incumbent still involved. I thought Hanover Fox showed a great understanding of how this might affect the type of person we should select."
"I was really impressed with the long-list. From that, we reviewed around 10 potential candidates, each with a detailed summary from Hanover Fox. We then took five to a first interview and three to the final interview."
"I thought Hanover Fox did an excellent job. They were discrete. They argued on behalf of certain candidates when our shareholders disagreed. I felt they were scrupulous and trustworthy. I didn’t feel they were trying to manoeuvre us (as some recruiters do). I valued their advice and it was interesting to see that they correctly identified the successful candidate very early on."
"Most importantly, two of the final three candidates, including the successful one, were from outside our circles of influence. We would never have made this promising appointment without Hanover Fox."
Help for Heroes
Head of Recovery
Help for Heroes, the charity that supports wounded, injured or sick Veterans and their families, turned to Hanover Fox to fill a unique role as Head of Recovery North.
Sue Castleton, Head of HR, explains why this was such a difficult post to fill:
“The person we were replacing had conceived of, built and run our Recovery Centre in the north. That’s big shoes to fill. The role is really complex and deals with a wide range of challenges, from running a Recovery Centre which provides welfare, psychological, career, sports and fellowship programmes, to overseeing a welfare team which may, for example, need to urgently get an adapted bathroom fitted in an individual’s home. We needed someone with the flexibility to deal with serving military personnel, while embracing our holistic approach for Veterans, and providing real leadership to the team.
“Hanover Fox spent a remarkable amount of time with us before carrying out executive search and targeted advertising. As soon as they presented us with a list of pre-vetted candidates for discussion I knew we were with the right firm. They then conducted face-to-face interviews with about a dozen potential candidates and together we whittled the list down to six.
“We then ran a pretty thorough all day assessment process at the Centre, taking feedback from staff and managers to make our final decision.
“In almost 30 years of recruiting senior people, I have never encountered this level of detail from an executive search firm. They felt part of our team. The calibre of candidates was really high. They clearly set candidate expectations so there were no awkward negotiations at the end. They are refreshingly different.
"The calibre of candidates was really high. They clearly set candidate expectations so there were no awkward negotiations at the end. They are refreshingly different."
Limbs & Things
National Sales Manager
When Limbs & Things, a global leader in medical training products, required a new National Sales Manager, they asked Hanover Fox to lead the process.
Anne Allin, Commercial Director explains:
“We knew we wanted a high calibre person at the right stage of their career, probably with a medical background, who could be based out of Bristol but would cover the whole UK. That makes for a narrow field.
“As a family-owned company we are also a little quirky. That means that cultural fit is absolutely crucial.
“What impresses me about Hanover Fox is their ability to get under the skin of the business. To ask lots of good, deep questions. To really understand what we are about. They also bring commercial acumen, knowledge we don’t have and a commitment to get the assignment done.
"I had confidence that after their vetting process, anyone recommended by Hanover Fox would be of the right standard. I’m delighted to say we made a great appointment. Six months on he has already proved to be a valued member of our team.”
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."
Senior Executive Team
“I was looking to refresh my senior management team in the engineering division at Chiltern Railways. To get the right calibre and quality I felt we needed to look outside the railway industry, as well as within."
“The most important thing for me was to bring in a fresh view, new thinking and the right attitude. It was a radical move and a potential risk to the business, so I chose Hanover Fox to lead the executive search process."
“It wasn’t all plain sailing. The first tranche of candidates we reviewed didn't feel right, but both us and Hanover Fox used this as an opportunity to recalibrate the specification of who we were looking for. After that, the quality of potential candidates was exceptional."
“We ran the interviews in-house but instantly compared notes with Hanover Fox after each session. They challenged me when they thought it necessary and stood up for some candidates. In one case, they persuaded me to take a candidate I would have discarded on to a second interview; that person has now become a really valued member of my team."
“It was a really positive process. There’s no way we could have reached some of the candidates we eventually employed. My team couldn’t have handled the administration without massive disruption to our everyday work challenges. I don’t think we could have found the calibre of people without executive search and in particular, Hanover Fox’s established networks."
“We employed 5 people and they are really setting our world alight. What’s really impressed me is that Hanover Fox have continued to keep in touch with them after they have joined to make sure they are bedding in."
"I am delighted with my new senior team and I would definitely recommend Hanover Fox."
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.”