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.


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 or on +44 (0) 113 243 2004.