Seasoned interims the answer to executive talent gaps in these uncertain times

5th November 2020

By Rachel Frankland 

Uncertainty. You just cannot escape it at the moment. From the US election to Covid-19 to Brexit, we have never experienced such prolonged instability.

Businesses in many – if not most – industry sectors have spent several years now battling to keep up with the frenetic and insatiable drive to new technology.

Digital disruptors have ripped up the rule book and challenged the autonomy of long term industry leaders in every sector from financial services to consumer retail.

Far from stalling the march of digital, the pandemic has created even more demand for online innovation, with lockdowns and related social distancing measures enforcing home working and shopping alike.

But with companies having to slash operating costs – and therefore executive headcount – in response to the unprecedented economic downturn, many are now finding themselves short of expertise in key areas.

The unpredictable economic outlook caused by Covid and – for a number of sectors – Brexit, has left many firms unable to commit to hiring permanent executive leaders in such an extremely challenging climate.

Yet businesses need commercial expertise in vital specialisms such as FP&A, business transformation and digital more than ever, with particular demand for finance roles leading budgeting, reforecasting, working capital and cash flow management.

Interim management can help solve this dilemma for boardrooms.

With so much business restructuring having been conducted this year the candidate market is buzzing, with a broad range of immediately available talent in all of these functional areas.

HW Global is in regular touch with executives – many of whom we have known for several years – in all our key interim markets: financial services; CFO; consumer retail and CPG; and B2B products and services.

The many benefits of interims to companies needing a swift injection of talent, without the long term commitment of a permanent executive hire, also include major savings on remuneration packages with fixed term contracts or agreed day rates, and extensive experience.

We work closely with clients to remotely onboard interim executives, who are well versed in being commissioned by organisations during challenging periods and working flexibly.

Our offices in London, Leeds and Manchester are finding the private equity market in particular is taking advantage of the increased interim talent on offer, alongside the PLCs and other SMEs we serve, as they focus on budgeting and reforecasting for 2021 and beyond.

Please get in touch to discuss the candidate market and how HW Interim can support your short term talent requirements.

Rachel Frankland is a consultant at HW Interim specialising in finance appointments. Contact her at or +44 (0) 113 243 2004 for a confidential discussion.

New Global Corporate R&D VP appointed at Mars Incorporated

19th October 2020

HW Global are very proud to announce that as part of the continued global search partnership, Mars Incorporated has announced the hiring of Dr. Maria Velissariou as the new Global Corporate Research & Development (R&D) Vice President and Chief Science Officer.

Dr. Velissariou joined Mars on September 13 and will lead Mars’ enterprise-wide approach to Quality and Food Safety, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs and deliver Mars’ R&D strategy in partnership with its business segments.

Dr. Velissariou will report into Jean-Christophe Flatin, President of Innovation, Science, Technology & Mars Edge and will partner with the existing Mars Chief Science Officer and Vice President of Corporate R&D, David Crean, as a transition to his retirement in April 2021.

Dr. Velissariou said: “The process was very well managed and despite the COVID-19 challenges the execution was seamless and smooth. HW Global provided timely and well-thought out preparation and coordination, received and provided feedback respectfully and could be relied upon at all times.”

The HW team would like to wish Dr. Velissariou all the very best of luck in her new role, and for a long and rewarding future with Mars.

Time to get yourself prepared for your next move

15th October 2020

By John Wakeford

At this very challenging time I am speaking to lots of experienced executives who are out of work either for the first time, or after a sustained period of secure employment.

The conversations I have had would suggest that there are growing numbers of execs who find themselves in unchartered waters and aren’t sure what their next move should be, or how to go about it.

Many, having not applied externally for a role for many years, simply don’t know where to start and are feeling despondent and negative about the future.

With that in mind I wanted to share the advice I have been giving them, hopefully helping others who find themselves in the same position.

The first message I am giving is be patient – it could take a while, maybe 12 months, before you take on your next challenge. Of course devote some time to looking for a new permanent role if that is your objective, but also enjoy some quality time – something which may have been in short supply for some time.

Use the opportunity to properly think through your next steps. Arrange some lifestyle financial planning advice; it may be you can afford to retire earlier than you thought.

If you’re not ready for that just yet, think about going plural – taking on two or three part time roles, or have you considered consultancy?

Non-executive directorships are another possible avenue. Execs often stay in the sector they know best, but boards are looking for those transferrable skills that aren’t sector specific, such as finance, people and audit. They are also often attracted to high profile businesspeople within their region.

But remember execs don’t take on NED roles for the money, it’s more about passing on their experience, giving something back to their community.

It is also a challenging time for interims; however, if you are available and can be flexible with location and day rate, there are still contracts out there. You could take on an interim role until you get a permanent post, or alongside a non-executive directorship.

If you want a break, it could be a good time to reskill – brush up on your IT skills or learn a new language for example – or to do some voluntary work. The NHS and charities are in need of volunteers to assist during the ongoing pandemic, such as helping with driving and delivering medical supplies to vulnerable people.

But whether you plan to look for a new permanent executive role, go down the interim route, or build a portfolio as an NED, there are some basic mistakes you need to avoid which I have encountered more times than I could mention.

Here are some top tips for success:

CV – ensure it is up to date and make sure your references are lined up.

LinkedIn – make sure your profile is current, has contact details and makes clear you are immediately available. If you are flexible on location, say so.

Be visible – use your business social media network to share and comment on articles of interest, and write articles yourself which reinforce your expertise and USPs.

Use technology – it is much easier to share your thoughts with 500 connections via LinkedIn than it is to try and email or call them all.

Talk to headhunters – we know what is happening in the market and you need to be known to us if we are to consider you for any upcoming opportunities.

With that in mind, if you are an interim or permanent executive who wants to discuss your next move or obtain some advice please get in touch – I’d be more than happy to talk to you. It’s what we’re here for.

John Wakeford
 is a founding director of HW Global Talent Partner and heads the Interim business. Contact him at or +44 (0) 113 243 2004 for a confidential discussion.