Latest news from Directorbank

6 November 2019

Directorbank awarded Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation

Directorbank has received ‘Cyber Essentials Plus’ accreditation demonstrating that we have adopted the best practices in cyber security.

What is Cyber Essentials –

Cyber Essentials is a government-backed scheme to encourage organisations to adopt best practices in their information security strategy. It helps guard them against common online threats such as hacking, phishing and password guessing and helps protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data stored on devices which connect to the internet such as desktops, laptops, tablets and phones as well as all server and networking equipment.

How did Directorbank gain the ‘Cyber Essentials Plus’ certificate –

By demonstrating that our IT is suitably secure and meets the strict requirements set out in the Cyber Essentials framework. This covers 5 themes – firewalls, secure configuration, user access control, malware protection and patch management. Following an independent assessment of our security controls by a Certification Body (including an external and internal vulnerability scan) Directorbank was upgraded to the tier 2 level – ‘Cyber Essentials Plus’ status.

Benefits of the Cyber Essentials scheme – 

  1. It has provided us with a strong framework in which to review our internal security and made us fully question and test all aspects of our IT infrastructure and systems. As a result any potential weaknesses have been highlighted allowing us to put robust measures in place to overcome them.
  2. It protects us against common threats – the Cyber Essentials certification provides peace of mind that our defences will protect us against the vast majority of prevalent cyber-attacks.
  3. It reassures our clients/candidates/contacts by demonstrating that we take the security of our systems – and the integrity any personal data stored within them – very seriously.
  4. It supports our commitment to GDPR. 


Should you have any further queries regarding Directorbank’s approach to cyber-security, please email Ian Street, our Head of IT and Data Protection, at


30 September 2019

Ask the expert: Developing Boards for growth

Building a team for sustainable growth is one of the biggest challenges that a CEO/Founder of a fast growing SME faces. Directorbank’s James Searby shares his insight.

As a business grows, so too does the need to evolve the Board. At the helm of a far bigger and more complex ship, the Founder/CEO’s ability to manage all facets of the day-to-day operations of the business will become increasingly challenging.

With this greater complexity comes the need for additional support, and unless a talented Senior Management Team (SMT) is developed or recruited, this can become a major barrier to growth.

A strong SMT which has the ability and experience to help the business continue along its growth trajectory is essential. By ensuring diversity of experience, expertise and ambition, the Founder/CEO is able to free up more of their time to focus on management, strategy and those crucial decisions surrounding emerging priorities, opportunities and challenges.

What value can a Chair bring to an owner-managed growth business?

A Chair can add immense value to a growing business. They will provide strategic support and experience built over many years of successes and failures and will act as an invaluable sounding board for the Founder/CEO as they focus on the next stage of growth. They will promote top-level discussion, maintain management team cohesion, and focus the board on the most important aspects of future growth.

They will be someone who shares the Founder/CEO’s vision for growth – a confidant and a mentor who can offer support when most needed. They will be a seasoned expert, possibly with deep sector knowledge and certainly with situational experience. They will bring the gravitas to counsel and critique board decision making, and will objectively challenge the Founder/CEO in a way they might not have been challenged before.

Essentially, a valuable Chair is someone who has been through the entrepreneurial journey already and has trodden the path which the Founder/CEO aspires to follow. They have well-earned empathy with the challenges faced by owned-managed growth businesses and, if there is external funding, they will have the knowledge to act as the cornerstone between investor and management.

Good chemistry is crucial and the trust and respect between Chair and Founder/CEO is imperative to their working relationship.

The importance of recruiting a well-rounded CFO

As a company scales and the need for a more commercial finance function grows, the FD role must move beyond cash control. What has worked in the past is unlikely to be the best approach for the future.

The Founder/CEO needs to ask: ‘Are the right capabilities in place to strategically support our growth plans? Do I have the commercial finance visibility to make informed decisions going forward?

If the business is looking for external funding to provide financial firepower to unlock future growth opportunities then a bean counter will not suffice. A well-rounded and robust CFO is likely to tick the box on many of the below attributes:

  • Leadership of a growing finance function
  • Rigorous reporting and rolling forecasts
  • Commercial finance and data to enable strategic decisions
  • M&A, due diligence and integration
  • Return On Investment forecasting
  • Growth-oriented mind-set
  • Excellent communicator
  • Expertise in raising capital to provide funds for investment
  • Reporting requirements for external funders


Building the Senior Management Team

As a business evolves and the team deepens, success becomes even more dependent on the functional aspects of the business firing on all cylinders. The Founder/CEO cannot oversee it all and more trust must be given to the core team. In preparation, thought should be given to:

  • Identifying those employees with the skills and mind-set to lead teams of the future, and ensuring their interests are aligned to those of the business.
  • Considering further recruitment to develop the core team including Chief Operating Officer, Sales Director and CTO to name but a few. Incentive schemes need to be agreed to align the SMT and lock them in through the next stage of growth. This can be in the form of equity or LTIPs
  • With a considered, strategic approach to Board relations and senior management development, the Founder/CEO can ensure the business is better positioned and prepared for further growth, whilst freeing up more of their time to really focus on those crucial elements essential to future prosperity and success.

For more information, contact James Searby on 0113 297 8000/020 7255 7940 or at

11 September 2019

Successful sale of Fox International for Mayfair Equity Partners and Next Wave Partners

Congratulations to Mayfair Equity Partners and Next Wave Partners on the successful sale of Fox International to US trade buyer, Lew’s Holdings Corporation.

Directorbank is proud to have supported this success by placing David Algar as Executive Chairman of Fox in 2014. Under David’s leadership, Fox experienced notable growth including investment in Western European markets, entering new markets in the US and Eastern Europe, and consistent development of its product and service lines.

Fox International is Europe’s largest fishing tackle company, selling some 3,000 products in over 30 countries. Mayfair Equity Partners backed a management buy-out in 2015 from Next Wave Partners who retained a significant minority shareholding.

This placement demonstrates our ability to deliver highly successful outcomes for our private equity clients.

For more information on Directorbank’s executive search offering and Private Equity pre-deal recruitment services, please contact:

Simon Thomas
020 7255 7940

29 August 2019

Growth100 – Recognising Yorkshire companies that have achieved and sustained rapid growth and the entrepreneurial talent behind them

The fastest growing companies in Yorkshire revealed …

The Yorkshire Growth100 – Insider’s annual league table – ranks those companies which have grown at the fastest pace in the past 5 years with head offices in the Yorkshire region. As a Yorkshire-founded executive search firm, and a leading provider of entrepreneurial directors to SMEs, we are honoured to be involved with this initiative.

To view the full 2019 Yorkshire Growth100 league table, Click here

This year’s rundown includes businesses from all corners of the county from property developers and manufacturers to restaurant operators and distributors.

 James Searby, a Director and Co-owner of Directorbank Executive Search, comments:

“The Insider Growth100 report recognises those businesses across Yorkshire that have achieved and sustained rapid growth. By doing so, it acknowledges the talent and success of some of the region’s most effective and entrepreneurial business leaders.

Founded in Leeds in 1998, Directorbank has grown from a small start-up to a pan-European search firm. However, we are extremely proud of our Yorkshire heritage and remain highly active in the region.  Last year, 30% of our executive, non-executive and senior management placements were into Northern-based businesses and it’s encouraging to see some of our clients listed in this year’s Growth100 league.”


About Directorbank:

Founded in 1998, Directorbank provides executive and non-executive search solutions for entrepreneurial growth companies across the SME market. With an exceptional talent network – developed over 20 years – and a knowledgeable, experienced team, we can demonstrate a strong track record of success covering all key sectors and roles from Chairmen, NEDs, CEOs and FDs to other critical directorships in Operations, Sales, Marketing, IT and HR. Directorbank has also worked with more than 100 Private Equity houses, supporting them at both the pre-deal and portfolio stages of the investment cycle with a suite of recruitment solutions.

For more information on our services visit

Alternatively, for a confidential discussion, please contact:

James Searby
0113 297 8000