Latest news from Directorbank

8 March 2023

International Women’s Day: Embracing equity in the workplace

International Women’s Day: Embracing equity in the workplace
By Nicky Hall, Head of Marketing at Directorbank Executive Search

Today is International Women’s Day and the theme is #Embrace Equity, a powerful reminder that each and every one of us is responsible for driving gender parity.

As a female member of Directorbank’s leadership team, and a mother of two young children, this is something I feel strongly about.

I want my kids to grow up with opportunity, in a world that’s inclusive and fair. When they begin a career, they should be able to pursue something they feel passionate about. And if they choose to have a family of their own, they shouldn’t feel compromised, ‘stuck in a rut’ or guilty. They should have the opportunity to perform at their very best, to gain confidence, to pursue success. That opportunity should extend to everyone, regardless of gender.

In the business world, at Board level, the value of female representation is well documented, backed up by hard research. Companies with diverse leadership teams perform better financially and are better equipped to understand and respond to the needs of their employees and consumers.

A diverse leadership team brings different perspectives and experiences to the table, adds depth and creativity to discussions, and delivers smarter outcomes.  It serves to educate and inspire others: a visible demonstration that women can, and do, contribute real value to the bottom line.

But in reality there is much progress to be made. Within the FTSE 250 there are just 47 female-held executive directorships (12.1%). In the mid-market, women in key executive roles are also greatly underrepresented.

As executive search specialists working across the mid-market, we can see that strides have been made. Company boards are placing greater emphasis on gender parity, and we are increasingly being asked to provide diverse, inclusive candidate shortlists. With a still comparably more limited pool of female candidates with proven Board-level experience, and a company network still largely dominated by men, we have become more creative and open with our search processes in order to widen the talent horizon and pinpoint individuals with the right skill-set to do the job well.

Gender equality is not something that can be fixed quickly. It requires collective effort, a change in mind-set, a re-evaluation of company culture, and a conscious drive to break down systemic barriers from the top down and the bottom up.

Businesses need to work harder to attract and engage women and support them into positions of leadership. And this drive goes beyond recruitment. It requires a re-evaluation of professional development initiatives, mentoring opportunities, company values and working practices. There needs to be a move from ‘supporting the collective’ to ‘supporting the individual’ so that ALL employees feel encouraged and empowered to thrive.

As a Directorbank employee, I am very proud to say that 50% of my colleagues are female including our German team and our Heads of Research, Finance and Events. We were all hired because we were the best candidates for the job, we all work extremely hard, and we take pride in delivering value for our team and clients.

In return we get to work for a business that places a great deal of emphasis on work/life balance through flexible, tech-enabled working practices and strong communication. A leadership team that understands the pressures that young families or sick elders can bring and, above all, a business with an overriding culture of trust and respect.

Directorbank has evolved and modernised, and it works. Performance is strong and we seem to have achieved a balance that works for all.

6 March 2023

Retail & Consumer Sector Update

Retail and Consumer Sector Update, by Simon Nolan, Head of Retail & Consumer Practice, March 2023:

After some extremely bearish predictions towards the end of last year, recent data suggests that the recession might be far shallower than originally thought. And whilst the outlook for the sector remains somewhat opaque, given the economic and political uncertainty, inflation is expected to recede over the next few months. Signs indicate an uptick in consumer confidence and retail sales as the year unfurls.

This is reassuring news after such a challenging year. The sector has been dealt a rotten hand of sky-high inflation, supply chain pressures and increased production costs against a backdrop of eroded customer confidence and squeezed budgets. There have been further casualties with M&Co and Paperchase being some of the latest closures.

Some of the “overhyped” categories within food and drink have seen enormous spikes in interest followed by an inevitable decline as trends move onto the next best thing. 10-minute grocery delivery apps and the rise and fall of “plant based everything” have been particularly interesting as investor interest exploded rapidly and then proceeded to disintegrate at a similar pace as some of the challenges of those business models became clear.

During 2023, the adoption of e-commerce and the movement towards direct-to-consumer will undoubtedly continue its growth trajectory. However, as has been the case for some time, retailers must still find the balance between the ecommerce and in-store experience. Whilst online channels provide brands with greater opportunity to expand reach, for many retailers the provision of an engaging, enjoyable in-store experience contributes significantly towards overall sales performance.

What does this mean for leadership teams of consumer based businesses?

During the pandemic, I witnessed first-hand the resilience of management teams as they adapted to unprecedented challenges. The same can be said again, particularly for those businesses that are agile, innovative and creative, not only to mitigate the rapidly changing environment, but to continue delivering value to their customers throughout the shopping experience, across all touch points. Ultimately the British public is still spending, and brands need to adapt to win share of voice and share of basket. The challenges of supply and operations over the last couple of years are more likely to move to those of sales, marketing and ecommerce as relevance and desire impact consumer shopping choices more than availability.

How does this affect Board-level recruitment?

At Directorbank, we have seen continued demand for key finance and operations roles with a focus on reducing costs, driving efficiencies and strengthening the supply chain. With the next 12 months I expect demand to move towards commercial and marketing-led leadership roles as businesses seek to leverage the power of technology and data to sustain competitive edge and provide new and compelling ways for their customers to browse, buy and save.

If Directorbank can assist you with a Board level or senior management search requirement,
or if you’d like further information on our credentials, please contact:

Head of Retail & Consumer Practice
Directorbank Executive Search

Phone: 07584 386159
Click here to read Simon’s profile.

20 February 2023

Directorbank grows team with six new appointments

Appointments update:
We are delighted to announce a number of significant appointments across the business to further enhance our delivery capability.

Simon Nolan and Ben Gilbert join as Directors whilst our team of Research and Delivery Consultants has been strengthened by the appointments of Luke Walker and Alana Grugan in the UK and Marie-Thérèse Meurer and Felicitas Mayer in Germany.

Simon Nolan leads our Retail & Consumer Practice and brings with him over 16 years’ experience in Consumer Goods, Direct to Consumer and Retail channels. His search expertise covers senior level and main board appointments in the UK and overseas. The first six years of Simon’s career ranged from Graduate Trainee at McVities to middle management at Aldi before moving to recruitment. His in-depth sector knowledge from manufacturer (branded and own label) to retailer and ecommerce leaves him well placed to expertly advise and support our clients.

Ben Gilbert is approaching 20 years’ search experience across the Industrial sector. Having commenced his career at an independent boutique consultancy in the UK, Ben went on to grow Page Group’s Engineering division in Australia. After five successful years, he joined a leading search firm in the UK where he was responsible for growing their Industrial Practice. Ben has an in-depth knowledge of the Industrial landscape and has completed C-Suite and senior executive mandates for some of the world’s largest industrial manufacturersPE-backed and privately-owned companies.










Directorbank’s Simon Thomas comments: “Despite ongoing economic turbulence, Directorbank has continued to deliver strong performance across the UK and Germany. This is testament to our wonderful team whose expertise, hard-work and dedication has been first class. Our new team members will help us to further enhance our delivery capability and reach whilst strengthening our reputation as a leading search firm for high growth private equity-backed, listed and private businesses across the mid-market.”

Dorothea Kronenberghs, our Executive Director Europe based in Frankfurt, Germany concludes: “I am delighted with the appointments. In Frankfurt, Marie and Felicitas are a huge asset to our team and with their support and experience we are able to provide a stronger, faster service to our DACH network of PE investors and other mid-market clients.”



31 January 2023

Review of 2022

Our review of 2022 – activity and highlights.
As the New Year is upon us, we’d like to take this opportunity to share some of our highlights from the past 12 months.

Throughout 2022 we achieved excellent search outcomes for our clients, working predominantly at Main Board level with established and high growth entrepreneurial businesses backed by Private Equity. Our German operation continued to perform well, contributing 40% to our overall business.

Trading volumes are now back to their pre-pandemic levels and we have noticed a distinct shift in client requirements. The most substantial change has been the sharp rise in demand for high quality CFOs as companies position for greater M&A activity albeit set against a very challenging economic environment. We have also seen a material increase in Executive Board appointments, most obviously Chief Operating Officers and Sales & Marketing Directors. We noted a clear reduction in the number of Chair appointments which can be explained by the decrease in Private Equity deal activity over the year.

Looking forward to 2023, we anticipate an increase in PE deal activity and a strong demand for Board level candidates across our core markets. 

Our team looks forward to supporting the growth ambitions of our clients in the year ahead.


Review of 2022_Directorbank