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.