Fast Tracking to a Global Consultancy
Whitehead Mann Group is a headhunter in an enviable position. Over the past 18 months, it has moved swiftly to transform itself from a UK-centred search business into a global consultancy - just at the right moment, it seems. If it had waited any longer, the recessionary contraction in the headhunting business might have prevented it from making crucial acquisitions.
Financial services is an important focus among the five practices offered at the search firm, originally founded by Dr Anna Mann in 1976 to address important corporate hiring needs. As the business grew, it extended into selection and assessment services and 1997 saw its successful flotation on the London Stock Exchange.
Last year it became obvious that Whitehead Mann harboured serious ambitions, as the search firm embarked on a series of carefully conceived acquisitions to gain a firm foothold on the global recruitment scene. In February, Whitehead Mann acquired The Change Partnership, a leading UK firm focusing on the development of senior executives through coaching and mentoring.
Whitehead Mann Group chief executive Gerard Clery-Melin said at the time: "The synergy of combining the search, assessment and evaluation capabilities of Whitehead Mann with the senior coaching and development skills offered by The Change Partnership makes this a hugely exciting opportunity."
In July it bought one of its UK competitors GKR, which has particular strengths in consumer, industrial and TMT search.
At the time the merger did not make sense to industry-watchers who saw the two firms as too similar in coverage, but Whitehead Mann deemed it to be an excellent "cultural fit". The merger gave the firm enough critical mass to drive further expansion overseas.
The dust had barely settled when Whitehead Mann GKR announced its second acquisition, US financial services search boutique Pendleton James. It also significantly expanded its operations in April in France and paid more attention to Hong Kong, which it inherited via the GKR purchase.
Just over a year later, the firm's expansion continues with the opening of an office in Frankfurt today and a further office in Munich planned before the end of the year. …