8 April, 2020

A view from the CFO Practice at Green Park

To us, one of the most gratifying elements about a career in executive search has always been the opportunity we are afforded to engage with individuals across a broad range of sectors and business types, understanding their key business drivers and challenges. Never has that been more apparent than over the last few weeks. We have had an open ear to the personal and company-wide challenges that so many of us are facing and have been heartened by the pragmatism and determination that has been prevalent.

We understand that for many, senior level recruitment is not at the top of the agenda, yet we have been canvassing opinions on the current state of play, trying to build a picture of how businesses will look once the dust has settled and the attention is turned to forward plans. While certain sectors are currently in full ‘head down’ mode, without the latitude to think about how others are reacting to the maelstrom, we have been able to do exactly that, to listen, observe and share (without breaking confidence).

Those sectors and sub-sectors that are thriving do not need to be highlighted here, nor do those for whom this scenario is wettest of rainy days. However, across our network it is clear that businesses and individuals are taking very different perspectives on how to approach their challenges.

Transformation and talent retention are undoubtedly consistent threads, issues which are perplexing CEO’s, CFO’s, CPO’s and CIO’s in equal measure. In a deeply uncertain world, one thing we can say with absolute confidence is that this crisis has accelerated everyone’s thinking in this regard. Unlike a traditional recession, businesses know that this will end; and while it may not come at a finite point, they know that their actions in this period are likely to define how they come out of it and how quickly.

From our conversations, those organisations that have been presented with the opportunity to plan for growth in this time, have identified this time to steal a march on their competitors. It’s imperative that they can have the right people in place at exactly the right time and combine that with the most relevant and embedded technologies, innovation and operating models.

Another factor we are hearing is the awareness of brand value at this time. Perception and action are key factors in determining brand strength and this points to the way the leadership teams engage with their people and to their external communities. We say that because as a profession, we see trends, meet people with similar issues, spot issues early and reach beyond boundaries. We’re facilitators, convenors and communicators with wide cross-sector networks, so our role at this time has been adapted to provide support in many different ways in addition to the obvious recruitment processes.

2020 is set to become a defining year on many levels, for some incredible challenge and hardship, for others opportunity and new ways of working. The secret is how we adapt, learn and prepare for the future.

We would welcome the chance to discuss this article or to find out how we can assist you at this time. Please contact us at:

David Sayers – Director and Head of CFO & Board Practice

David.sayers@green-park.co.uk | 07780 431192

Hal Stoddart – Director – CFO Practice

Hal.stoddart@green-park.co.uk | 07881 679586

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