Value of Group Treasurer rising fast as firms fight to turn round finances

10th September 2020

By John Wakeford

Having either worked in – or headhunted for – senior accountancy and treasury roles for more than 30 years, I can understand why their value is rising fast in such difficult economic conditions.

As a qualified accountant and corporate treasurer of a certain vintage, I have worked with four FTSE 100 plcs, including Kingfisher and ICI, and this is the third major UK recession I have helped steer a business through.

So I have a particular insight into the even greater importance of the company treasurer at a time organisations up and down the country are literally fighting for survival.

He/she has key relationships with lenders and knows exactly when and how to approach them about refinancing deals. A company without a good treasurer is like a ship without an experienced navigator – and I have seen many hit the rocks.

All firms are currently battling to strengthen their balance sheets, improve cashflow and address their long-term funding position.

So it is of no surprise to me that we are currently experiencing constant demand in the northern region – Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle – for this specialist executive finance talent.

The call is not only for group treasurers, but also direct reports including head of treasury and more bespoke roles such as those in liquidity management, asset and liability management, and balance sheet management.

We already support many northern based plcs, including Arriva, Drax and Kelda, financial services plcs, building societies and start-ups, and have a strong network of treasury professionals on permanent and interim contracts.

David Gregg, Director of Corporate Finance at Kelda Group, said: “I’ve known John for more than 30 years and he got in touch with me two years ago about the opportunity at Kelda for the position I now hold.

“When I needed to recruit a deputy treasurer I naturally asked John to conduct the search and, along with his excellent team, he successfully hired a candidate living in London who was keen to relocate to Leeds.

“Having myself been based in Surrey, it has been great to see from my time in Yorkshire that it has significant growth and opportunities in treasury across both PLCs and financial services.

“I would certainly agree with John that talented treasurers, including those in the South/South-East, should consider looking north as there are lots of excellent treasury roles available up here.”

So my message is clear: any organisation looking for a treasury team or individuals looking at their treasury career options, please get in touch and we can discuss how we can support you.

John Wakeford is a Founding Partner at HW Global Talent Partner, is ACT qualified and heads the Treasury team. Contact him at johnw@hwglobalpartner.com or on +44 (0) 113 243 2004.

RG Corporate Finance hired to support growth and acquisition strategy

25th July 2020

RG Corporate Finance has been appointed by HW Global to support the international executive search firm’s continued growth and acquisition strategy.

Launched in 2006, HW Global operates on an exclusive and retained basis in the £120,000+ search market, also placing interims on daily rates from £700 to £2,000.

With offices in Leeds, Manchester and London, it serves a range of UK and multi-international organisations and has the funds in place to support an ambitious medium-term acquisition programme designed to scale its operations and enter new markets.

Last year HW Global acquired a majority stake in London-based digital recruitment specialist Zebra People, giving it the capacity to offer a comprehensive digital talent service to clients. HW Global appoints senior digital leaders and the Zebra People team builds the critical capability that sits underneath.

The deal is the first in a series of planned acquisitions designed to enable HW Global to offer its clients an end-to-end talent solution in key functional areas of high growth, transformation and demand.

Other potential targets include white collar recruitment agencies specialising in placing talent into functional areas such as accounting & finance, digital and supply chain/procurement at the tier below executive level.

HW Global has engaged RGCF to identify potential partners where the acquisition will support the future growth of both organisations.

Paul Spetch, Chairman of HW Global, said: “We are looking for ambitious management teams in recruitment firms with high growth potential who share our drive to consistently provide exceptional service for both clients and candidates.

“The sector is not the key determinant, providing it is a market we can feed each other leads and add value to both businesses such as consumer or financial services where we are particularly strong.”

Carl Swansbury, Partner and Head of Corporate Finance at RGCF, said: “The board and shareholders are ideal, strategic partners for autonomously-run recruitment businesses that have ambitious growth plans that would benefit from the financial, strategic, operational and expert support of HW Global.

“We are engaging with companies that provide white collar recruitment solutions, have an EBITDA of circa £500,000 and are interested in working in partnership with a larger organisation to tap into their knowledge, but also supportive and established back-office functions and extensive client base that can provide a foundation for further growth.”

See the interview with Carl Swansbury of RGCF and Spencer Jinks, CEO of HW Global via the link above.

Paradigm shift in thinking could see plc execs turn focus to private equity

5th July 2020

By John Wakeford

The experience of lockdown and its impact on the economy has hugely affected the mindset of UK executives.

Speaking to dozens of candidates over the past few months, it has become clear that having a better quality of work has become more important to many than the corporate grind.

They are less inclined to commute and want to continue to work at least some of the time from home, whilst not enjoying plc culture with its increasing scrutiny and ever negative reaction to bonuses and LTIPs.

On a daily basis I have candidates telling me they are looking for something different, and would get more satisfaction from helping achieve success in a privately owned or private equity backed business.

This is presenting a huge opportunity for private equity businesses in the regions to attract talented executives who normally would have been drawn to a London-based plc. This has not gone unnoticed by our clients.

There are some excellent opportunities out there in the north for both candidates based in and around cities like Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle and those genuinely looking to relocate from the south.

Current assignments we are working on include a private equity backed firm in Yorkshire and a private equity consumer business in the north both seeking to hire new CFOs. We also have a client in the north west wanting to hire commercial directors (retail and financial services) who embraces flexible home working.

Businesses in the regions want to take advantage of current market conditions to hire better people, and there is particular demand for senior finance execs and those with private equity experience.

Covid-19 has generated such a paradigm shift in thinking, I would predict a significant relocation of talent from plcs to PE-backed businesses. I would encourage those looking for a better quality of life to look north in terms of where their next career opportunity lies.

It is therefore an ideal time for executives who want to discuss their career plans and current opportunities to get in touch. I am happy to review your CV and advise on what is happening in the market. The time is now.

John Wakeford is MD of HW Interim. Contact him at johnw@hwglobalpartner.com or on +44 (0) 113 243 2004.