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Consultant Q&A with Paul Spicer

21 Nov 2023

Compass Executives Senior Associate Paul Spicer 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 sit in the CFO and Commercial Practice at Compass Executives. Typical positions I support my clients with are CFO, CFO-1 and Commercial leadership.

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

2023 feels like a year of consolidation and “taking stock”. The media narrative has been of the economy in a state of turmoil, but the reality on the ground is a more optimistic tone. Whilst we haven’t seen some of the more wholesale changes we experienced immediately after the pandemic, there have been some key areas of the boardroom that have required refinement and finance is often at the centre of that.

Historically, we have observed that whether market sentiment is on the rise or decline, it is critical that any business has a strong financial strategy and leadership. Interest rates in 2023 haven’t been conducive to the M&A activity we would typically expect to see, but we anticipate greater stability in the markets and subsequently, increased volumes of deals in 2024.

Are there any current high demand skillsets?

There is an increased need for data and insight across businesses and the early part of the year saw an upturn in demand for FP&A expertise. As many investors and operators turn their attention to the prospect of growth in 2024 and beyond, we are also now seeing demand for M&A and transformation credentials. A broader understanding of business operations and leadership outside of just the financial sphere is also in high demand as finance professionals are rightly regarded as having significant influence in the boardroom and in the execution of business strategy.

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

When you make the decision to change or even replace a key member of a portfolio board, it’s important to consider the lead time required to scope, source and wait for a new hire to start. Partner with a search firm that will consult with you consistently, even when you’re not looking to hire. At Compass Executives, we have access to a wealth of data points from successfully completed searches and can share much of this with our clients to support decision-making at the earliest stage.

Where possible, I would also advise my clients to keep an open mind when it comes to hiring talent from out of sector. Transferable skills and experiences often bring a new perspective with the added greater benefit of diversity of thought.

What are your Compass Executives highlights?

Personally, I’ve enjoyed helping a wide-ranging cross-section of clients with critical hires. The majority of our clients have a significant social impact and provide a product or service that changes lives.

Recent placement highlights

  • Renaiss Health – CFO
  • Children’s Services – Chief Commercial Officer
  • PE-backed Food Producer – CFO
  • Bluebird Care – Finance Director

Find out more about Paul here

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