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Written by Ru Jupp

Tenure of appointment as a measure of success

Tenure of appointment as a measure of success

As I reflect over the last decade since I founded Princedale, I often think of what lessons I can take from past experience to improve as a headhunter.

I love perspective and the role it plays in my decision-making and critical thinking when assessing people, talent and all important ‘fit.’

And I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved for our dizzying array of clients, sectors we cover, scale of businesses and the geographies we’ve helped clients in.

Combining perspective with variety plays a huge role in continuing to challenge and improve the way I operate.

And we have a killer success rate, and yet when speaking with potential new clients, all too often I’m asked about fees.

I’m surprised that as a headhunter of 20 years I’ve never been asked about arguably the most important measures of success and that is the tenure of our leadership placements.

After all, surely the longevity, contribution and progress of our placements is one of the surest measurements of our success as headhunters? 

All too often the focus is on the finding & hiring of talent rather than the longterm success and trajectory of the appointment.

Measuring longevity of happy employment & tenure is also an excellent way to price value of our services. 

I have analysed the tenure of hires that I’ve made over the years and here is a small sample where I’d suggest both my clients and appointees have done incredibly well.

Francis Nicholas – Digital Director (Nomad Foods). Placed in 2013 – 7 years.
David Martin – International Digital Director (Coca Cola). Placed in 2014. 7 years.
Tom Wehmeier – Partner (Atomico). Placed in 2013. 7 years.
Murray Beckett – CMO (Boohoo). Placed in 2017. 4 years.
Matthew Hawn – CPO (Audio Network. Placed in 2015. 5.5 years

In general, there’s a perception that executive search fees are expensive. But when you calculate not only the act of securing the right/best person from hundreds of possibilities, but also the long-term contribution of the hire, the longer the tenure the greater the value. 

There is also a multiplier effect, with the following aspects only becoming more valuable as the individual continues to excel:

With deeper knowledge, better leadership decisions tend to get made (including hiring decisions). Where an individual’s career flourishes, so does their reputation and that of the business both internally & externally.

Someone whose career takes off and evolves with the company for say 6+ years has typically saved the business the need to recruit externally in the time.
As long as the individual isn’t treading water and both the businesses challenges & opportunities continue to offer traction, simply put better decisions are made. This is incalculable.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that every placement I’ve made has lasted this long. Circumstances change and for several reason the employee needs to move on. Similarly, businesses change so fluidly too these days considering fast-growth & transformation. 

However, I’m confident the Princedale average tenure is higher than most firms, and I would happily stand my track record up to demonstrate this important, over-looked mark of success and value.

I contacted some of the placements above to garner their thoughts since their appointment:-

Placement Feedback

I believe one of the key skills a headhunter brings to the party is both finding the right individual for the role and finding the right business for the individual. Matching skills and values to the role and the company allow the individual to prosper and grow within that organisation. That is certainly my experience of being placed at Coca Cola European Partners by Ru c 7 years ago. A business that has allowed me to develop, significantly expand my role and given me a huge sense of personal satisfaction and achievement over the last six years.
David Martin, Coca Cola Digital Sales & Marketing Director

Incredible that it’s nearly 8 years now since we first spoke. The anniversary must be coming up any day soon. I’ll be forever grateful for helping me land here! You’re right that this is an overlooked, but critical point as it relates to talent – happy to give my take. It was important to me to find a home that matches my ambitions, shares my values and feeds my need for continuous learning and development. At Atomico, I’m fortunate to have found this alignment and so it has made it easy for me to commit to building our futures together over the long term, especially as there is so much mutual benefit in the compounding value that comes from successful tenure.  
Tom Wehmeier, Atomico Partner.

In the earlier stages of my career, I rarely thought about longevity and the impact of my role over time. But to make anything meaningful and lasting, you need the time and space to build culture and foundations. You have to start as you mean to go on, with clear intent and sharp focus on your values and your goals. The process with Audio Network was probably one of the deepest interviews processes I’ve ever been through, but I believe if paid off for Audio Network and me.  Ru and Princedale made sure that the cultural alignment and the shape of the role was the right fit for everyone.  
Matthew Hawn, Audio Network Chief Product Officer

‘I have been involved with all things Digital at Nomad Foods for 7 years now.  There are no doubts that truly embedding transformation takes time, and much more than 1 business cycle.  We are still very much on the journey, with lots to do. However, if we step back and look at what we have achieved it is professionally very satisfying, especially when validated externally in terms of metrics such as Online market share growth or winning Global awards for FMCG Search.  Staying for the long haul allows one to really embed change and see the real longer-term results of that personal investment and I’m grateful that I was appointed into this role by Ru and Princedale then.
Francis Nicholas, Nomad Foods (Birds Eye Iglo) Group Digital Director

If I can help you with your digital & customer leadership talent needs or you’d like to discuss this, get in touch.

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