Case Study:


The Client:

Drug Development Consultancy with operations in San Diego and London. The company supports biotechnology and pharmaceutical clients with strategic consulting services.

The Objective:

The company continues to experience strong growth across many areas of its business, and the appointment of an experienced Chief Operating Officer was necessary to support the operational scaling that the company envisaged over the coming business cycle. Additionally, the company was looking to bring additional leadership qualities to the company to support the strategic development of the company and its service lines, as well as meet the demands of the increasing number of employees across multiple locations.

The Search Approach:

  • Extensively briefed by the CEO and leadership to assess the purpose of the appointment, the appointee’s near and long-term objectives, and the experience necessary to be successful in the role. Also, extensively evaluated the differentiating qualities of the company, and its reputation.

  •  Developed a full job description, candidate profile and strategy for the project. Presented the strategy to the CEO/leadership and discussed the likely success factors and challenges.

  • Constantly discussed the recruitment progress with the client. Addressed important questions and tactically adapted to ensure the search was impactful. Target lists of candidates needed to be expanded and adapted to reflect emerging feedback from the marketplace.

  • Evaluated a high number of candidates for the position to develop a deep bench of long-list candidates (16+) to advance.

  • Performed consistent and methodical candidate assessments to assess all the long-list candidates against the pre-agreed criteria and to move them to the shortlist stage that could be presented to the client.

  • Systematically engaged with a vast cohort of candidates, including existing CSO level and below. Assessed the knowledge of niche biology and mapped core competencies against the established matrix.

  • The short-list consisted of four candidates (2 women candidates, 2 male candidates, inc. 1 candidate from an underrepresented racial group) submitted to the client and interviewed.

The Outcome:

Successfully appointed a highly credible and experienced candidate who was selected after extensive rounds of interviews with the leadership team, the board, and senior employees. The COO was hired for her deep and related experience gained in a similar organisation acquired after several years of successfully scaling. Her operational and strategic capabilities and leadership experience in service-oriented companies were abundant. The CEO and leadership team were impressed by other candidates on the short-list of this difficult search, but the appointed COO stood out as the best overall fit.