Executive Search Voluntary Code of Conduct

Working to improve diversity in the boardrooms of British businesses and beyond

We are recognised in the Enhanced Code segment for our work with FTSE350 businesses.

FTSE 350 gender diversity statistics 2017

  • Half of board searches we supported resulted in a female appointment
  • 35% of candidates we presented at the long-list stage were women.
  • Women with no prior board experience represented 1/3 of every female appointment we supported.

Our initiatives to support and develop a diverse talent pipeline

We continue to support initiatives to help expand our knowledge of and exposure to aspiring board directors:

  • We provide training and development seminars for non-executives in conjunction with the Financial Times Non-Executive Directors’ Club. These events and programmes ensure we remain in touch with the ‘next generation’ of board members.
  • We sponsor the Next Generation NED Network, an initiative organised by Simmons & Simmons aimed at high-potential executives who are considering becoming non-executive directors.
  • Our sector and functional practices host events targeted at talented executives who have the potential to progress into executive and non-executive board roles.
  • We have created and run a mentoring programme to champion diverse future leaders for the procurement function. This is a multi-faceted, year-long programme aimed at mid-to-senior level career female professionals (mentees) and experienced CPOs (mentors).

NED Case study

The client

Very substantial family-owned business

The brief

A senior executive with leadership experience gained in a branded consumer products manufacturing environment. Ideally an individual with the currency of insights of the UK retail environment.

The search strategy


  • Sector: the search took us into sizeable national and international own-label and branded consumer products businesses.
  • Relevant functions: we defined business leadership broadly – to include operations, HR and business unit leadership.
  • Other relevant candidate pools: of paramount importance was the appreciation of the dynamics associated with the business ownership nature.
  • Experience sought: business strategy capability, with an appreciation of own-label and branded products.

Targeted research and candidate identification were supported by sourcing across our extensive international network of contacts to explore suitability, availability, motivation, pivot points and board style. For this search, we considered in excess of 280 potential candidates.

The successful candidate

Our client interviewed eight candidates, an even split between women and men. Delighted with the quality, in the end, they made two appointments (one female, one male).  Given the importance of a nuanced appreciation of the workings of a board in a family business, in the end, all bar one of the shortlist were established portfolio non-executive directors. The successful female candidate had a background in organisational development, human resources, operations, procurement and logistics; she had previously served on the board of sport governing body.

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