Executive finance – leadership selection trends, 2014 so far...

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Executive finance – leadership selection trends, 2014 so far...


Over the last six months, the Page Executive finance practice has noted a tangible uplift in number of finance directors and CFO mandates entering the market. While the search for the perfect fit continues – a new found positivity and longer-term focus seems to be liberating the market.

Notable leadership selection trends so far in 2014 include:

1.       Continued private equity portfolio investment

As with last year, investment from private equity houses either from an initial investment or a secondary purchase perspective is on the increase. We have seen a substantial and continuing trend among our network to recruit private equity experienced finance directors and CFOs.

2.       Sector focus dip

Last year’s continued sector specific focus for a large percentage of mandates meant that we, and our research team, spent a great deal of time uncovering individuals with extensive sector specific or even segment specific experience. Over the last few months this trend has remained a strong preference rather than a requirement. CEOs/MDs appear to be considering the longer-term benefits of meeting the highest calibre individuals in the market rather than a very narrow group of sector biased individuals.

3.       Uplift in industrial sector

Although a little early to describe it as a trend, we have noted the greatest uplift in mandates within the industrial sector with specific focus on manufacturing, engineering and construction. Professional services and technology sectors are also experiencing a boost in mandates so far in 2014.

4.       Year-on-year 30% uplift of new finance directors entering the market

This is the highest uplift in new individuals stating a sincere desire to make a career move at FD/CFO level for more than five years. It is interesting to note that a very high percentage of these new market entrants have been in their businesses for more than three or four years.

5.       Competition from current employers

As anticipated, the positivity across the market, combined with the uplift in the number of new mandates in 2014 has seen ’buy back’ phenomena return to the market in a serious way. This means that employers are beginning to fight more aggressively to keep their finance leaders via new positions, enhanced packages and immediate promotional opportunities. The assumed high degree of employee security over the last number of years seems to be fading and currently the best employers are proactively focusing on the medium and long-term growth of their finance leaders.

There is a feeling of general market buoyancy with real positivity around growth in certain segments of the market. With businesses finding themselves freed up from previous economic constraints with access to different investment options, the 2014 market is one of optimism, expansion and speed to take advantage of changing market opportunities.

The Page Executive CFO practice continues to assist businesses across the UK to stay ahead of these trends by uncovering and selecting the highest calibre finance directors/CFOs and their key supporting roles.

Get in touch with Lucia Knight from Page Executive’s finance practice to find out more about finance leadership trends or to discuss a specific mandate.