HW eyes up new acquisition opportunities as firm celebrates 10th Anniversary

30th March 2016

UK based headhunter HW is eyeing up new acquisition opportunities as the firm celebrates its 10th Anniversary.

Adrian Hitchenor and John Wakeford launched the executive search and interim consultancy in 2006 after spotting a gap in the market for a northern-based headhunter specialising in boardroom level appointments for the financial services, consumer and business services sectors.

They were soon joined by Partner Spencer Jinks, who heads up their consumer practice from the firm’s Manchester office. Also on the board are Group Corporate Development Director Alex Raubitschek, who leads on M&A activity and manages the Executive Interim business, industry practice lead Jack Jenkins, and Chairman Paul Spetch.

In the past decade HW has completed more than 1,000 executive searches and placed over 100 interim executives on behalf of numerous international businesses, working across Europe, North and Latin America, South Africa and Asia Pacific.

The consultancy’s ever growing and varied client portfolio boasts some of the biggest names in the UK high street including food and non-food retailers, banks and building societies, as well as global consumer brands.

It also counts an international online retailer, low cost airline, price comparison website, telecommunications provider, pharmaceuticals giant and multinational security services company among its FTSE 250 clients.

To mark its tenth anniversary, the firm – formerly Hitchenor Wakeford – has launched its new brand ‘HW – Global Talent Partner’, as attention is turned to acquisition activity to aid its ambitious growth strategy.

The HW team including consultants, researchers and support staff, have just returned from a weekend at a Scottish spa and golf resort, where they celebrated the landmark.

CEO John Wakeford said he has seen many changes in the headhunting world over the past decade: “We are operating in a much different market to the one we entered ten years ago. The global banking crisis has transformed the expectations of the boardroom, with an increasing focus on corporate governance amid additional compliance and regulation, whilst the relentless pace of technology has revolutionised consumer shopping habits and introduced new cyber security threats.

“There is a demand for greater diversity in the boardroom to reflect both the customer base and new specialisms such as CIOs/CTOs overseeing information technology. Above all, if anything, there is an even greater need today for boards to ensure they hire the right people – with both the cultural fit and skills set for their business.”

He added: “We have been through the banking crash and the biggest recession in my lifetime, which has been the catalyst for so much change in the boardroom. But there are always new challenges – at the moment we have the impending European referendum which has also created a level of uncertainty meaning our approach and level of client understanding needs to be even more thorough.

“Aside from such distractions we have an ambitious growth strategy and we are currently looking at a number of potential merger and acquisition opportunities to help us achieve our medium term objectives.”