Executive search and selection case studies

Assignment successes

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.”

Swarup Banerjee, Financial Director


Technical Director and Sales Director

When Rob Butler, the Managing Director ofJames Fisher Testing Services, a leading provider of specialist testing and monitoring services for construction and other  infrastructure industries, needed to strengthen his senior team, he asked Hanover Fox to handle both appointments.

“I have successfully used Hanover Fox in a number of previous senior roles and I like how they work.

These are not easy roles to fill. We work in a niche technical area and we’re growing fast. We need people who are comfortable working across a broad scope; people who not only have the skillset we need, but also the entrepreneurial thinking.

Hanover Fox are very good at cultural fit. They spent time with me asking probing questions so they understood both roles and what my expectations were.

As usual it was a very efficient process. They narrowed the field with pre-vetting. After reviewing their candidate summaries and discussing each one with Hanover Fox, I interviewed just three people for each role."

"When you meet the candidates you realise how accurate Hanover Fox’s summaries are. We have made two excellent appointments without requiring too much time from my point of view, so I am very pleased with the outcome."

Rob Butler, Managing Director

Englefield Estate

Finance Director

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.”

Edward Crookes – Estates Director


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. 

Richard says:

“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."

Richard Hampton – Managing Director


National Director

When Sustrans, the charity that promotes cycling and walking, needed a new National Director, Chief Executive, Xavier Brice, invited Hanover Fox to support the appointment.

Xavier explains:

“Hanover Fox have a good track record in both transport and the third sector. They showed great interest and insight into us as an organisation and I knew from previous experience they would manage the project well.

“My brief was for someone who is comfortable influencing government, capable of leading campaigns and experienced in getting things done. I wanted to widen the pool to get diverse candidates.

“Hanover Fox found a good cross-section of people and after initial screening they presented a longlist of 10. We took four to interview. Three of those were excellent – fully appointable, which is a good place to be. I’m very pleased with the outcome.

“I think Hanover Fox are very approachable. They’re not afraid to offer an opinion. I get a real sense of experience and judgement. I would recommend Hanover Fox and in fact, we have already used them on another senior appointment.”

Xavier Brice – Chief Executive

Avon Rubber

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."

Craig Sage, Managing Director

Chiltern Railways

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."

Dave Penney – Engineering Director

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."

Tony Hoskinson, Master-elect

Hartpury College

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.”

Lesley Worsfold, Director of HR and Residential Services

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