A few of us sat down with our Group CEO, James Emmett and discussed 2017 for HSG and what the future looks like for 2018. A great read...
Tell us about HSG’s growth through 2017 – new hires, new offices etc.
2017 has been a revelation from where we were a year ago. HSG started the year with offices in London, New York and South Africa and will finish 2017 with 3 other offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dublin increasing our international footprint and headcount substantially. From a UK perspective 2017 has seen a number of significant senior hires helping Stephen Phipps, UK CEO to grow UK revenue by 25% compared to that of 2016. This coupled with the amazing success we have had in the US Wealth Management business has given us a record year for revenue & profits.
What’s the biggest change in the industry that you’ve noticed during 2017?
There has been a ‘swing back’ to the use of executive search firms as opposed to large corporates trying to do everything ‘in-house’. Technology has had a part to play but clients are recognising that there is no substitute for strong established relationships that we have in abundance. As a result, we have won a record number of retained mandates in a calendar year still with a few weeks to run! We have also seen a noticeable increase in the demand from our clients for value-add services (outside of retained search).
What are the highlights that stand out from 2017?
The launch of our Wealth Management offering in the US has taken up a lot of my time and focus and has added over $1.5 million of revenue from a standing start. Antony Pitt & his team have been absolutely outstanding in their dedication & commitment to HSG. In the UK, the addition of our new hires and the success of our Associate Consultant programme have improved the dynamics and culture of our business.
What are HSG’s plans, targets and challenges for 2018?
We are delighted that we are firmly on track to hit the ambitious financial target we set ourselves at the beginning of the MBO (which completes next year). While we plan to continue with cautious organic hiring, talent retention is paramount to the success of our business and I am passionate about developing our existing people. As for the challenges, aside from the obvious topics like Brexit and GDPR, we will need to embrace technology disruptors and continue to build relationships with in-house talent teams.
After 21 years at HSG, what excites you as the firm’s CEO today?
The globalisation of the business, it was previously 100% UK but now it is a 50/50 split between UK and International. We have achieved this entirely off our own back without any additional funding. The world is getting smaller and the global movement of talent is exciting. HSG will continue to enter into more international markets and 2018 will see us strengthen our relationship with ALS International, our joint venture partner in Asia.
What does Christmas at The Emmett’s look like?
A very traditional and family oriented Christmas. The children are now all grown up and come home with their respective partners for a few days together in Kent before heading to Cornwall to see in the New Year! We are a close knit family and it can be a bit (too much) of a party. We have a strong spiritual connection with a small village in Cornwall called Portscatho where we have some property. New Year is always a huge amount of fun with the whole village entering into a theme each year. Last year was wild west & I dressed up as a preacher! the previous year I was Shrek which seemed quite appropriate!