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Consultant Q&A with Jamie Barker

1 Nov 2023

Compass Executives Associate Jamie Barker recently sat down to discuss his role at Compass Executives and key market observations within the industry. 

Which of the practice areas do you support at Compass Executives?

I work across the board and leadership practice within Compass Executives, supporting with a range of C-suite and C-1 mandates. Specialising in C-1 appointments, my work covers a broad spectrum of senior operational, commercial and clinical hires across healthcare, social care and specialist education.

What are the key market observations you’ve witnessed in 2023, and how is this impacting hiring at C-Level?

Whilst 2022 saw the lowest M&A activity and capital raised for some 5 years, we’ve seen a sharp uplift in volume again in 2023; including large deals such as PureHealth’s acquisition of Circle Health Group. This, coupled with £10bn+ of market cap de-lists over the last few years, supports the resilience of the healthcare markets and an upward trajectory.

This uplift in volume has resulted in an increase in hiring at C-Level as investors look to invigorate leadership teams and drive value creation. This has seen us partner with investors and portfolio businesses to strengthen their senior teams with out of sector hires, particularly into finance and people leadership.

Are there any current high demand skillsets?

 We’re currently seeing a high demand for senior talent in the finance and commercial functions. In challenging economic times, there is a need for leaders who can steer financial strategies, drive the top line, and protect fiscal integrity. This has included a demand for those who can strengthen value proposition and devise go to market strategies for new service provisions.

What advice would you offer to the investment community making leadership changes to their portfolio businesses at present?

I would recommend to partner with a search firm who not only have a strong track record and expertise in the space but can navigate the complexities of a high-level search. This includes considerations of DE&I / ESG agendas, the ability to rigorously assess emotional / cultural intelligence and the dexterity to present out of sector options where suitable to the brief.

Building leadership teams that nurture a cohesive and productive culture is imperative in the world of private equity. Cultivating a positive team culture fosters collaboration, sparks creativity, and drives innovation; ultimately resulting in enhanced commercial outcomes and an established groundwork for sustained successes. We also have evidence to support that diverse boards present superior advisory capabilities and improved revenues[1].

Partnering with a search firm like Compass Executives who encourage diversity of thought and adopt extensive assessment & referencing will ensure these values are imbedded in your leadership teams; delivering improved outcomes.

 What are your Compass Executives highlights?

 My personal highlight is seeing the ongoing value-add provided by the talented individuals I’ve assigned, and at times, providing those I’ve worked with a platform for their first entry into PE situations. This can be life-changing for some, which feels very rewarding.

Recent placement highlights

  • Managing Director – Mental Health – UK PE
  • Managing Director – Specialist Educational Needs – UK PE
  • Director of NHS Commissioning – Surgical Care – European Investor Backed
  • Head of Private & Specialist – Dentistry – European Investor Backed
  • Head of Value Proposition – Surgical Care – European Investor Backed
  • Hospital Director – Surgical Care – European Investor Backed


[1]Heng An et al. “Corporate Innovation: Do Diverse Boards Help?.” Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, 56 (2019): 155 – 182.

Find out more about Jamie here

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