Finance Director – Utilities Services Contractor


Our client is an independent provider of connection services to the utility industry. Due to striking growth, they needed to add structure and a commercial edge to their board. Collingwood was engaged to undertake a full headhunt for a strategic Finance Director.


Historically the company had employed the services of Controllers and Managers, which had left reporting and forecasting in disorder. Equally, with the partners being largely technical, there was little structure and definition in terms of vision.

Through meeting them, it was clear that Collingwood would be looking for someone who had historically worked in a larger, corporate environment, but could demonstrate developing a business plan to build a company – combinations of which would be challenging to locate and attract. Although this helped define Collingwoods target market, their location and industry exposure also limited the number of potential targets within a given radius.


Collingwood’s client required a highly successful Finance Director, with the associated commercial experience and intuition. In terms of ‘softer skills’, the person needed to be highly driven, enthusiastic and goal orientated who demonstrated the desire to work in a highly autonomous environment, with exposure and involvement in all key functions of the business.

Ability to lead, manage and mentor a finance team with strong organisational and management skills was also a must, along with associated qualifications (ACMA, ACA, CIMA or ACCA).

This role would ensure the company is managed in a proper financial and legal manner, with the goal of maximising sustainable growth and profits. It was clear that this person would provide direction and leadership to the board for strategic business growth, operational efficiency and robust financial reporting and controls.


Through listening to the client, it was clear they required very specific skill sets within a fixed location. This led to Collingwood initially researching and reporting on the given market within allied industries, and a tightly defined target list. Through our exposure into sub-sectors, and listening to the client’s real requirements, Collingwood was able to provide consultancy to the client and suggested an approach that would open up the brief to encompass a broader portfolio of target companies.

By categorising target organisations into those closely aligned to the clients’ services and those that could comfortably move into the sector, Collingwood identified 128 companies. From these a total of 145 individual names were gathered from subsidiaries, referrals and suppliers. All were confidentially approached by phone. The client was updated weekly with details progress to date - numbers called, interested candidates and any obstacles we were finding. Equally, we were able to suggest alternative sectors and offer updated package details based on market intelligence.


From an original longlist of 30 interested candidates, Collingwood met 9, assessed and wrote reports on 6 with the client meeting all. Three were invited back to second interview and a subsequent offer made.

From there, Collingwood managed the three month notice period through to completion. Throughout which Collingwood proactively engaged with the client to provide advice and guidance, ensuring our client did not miss out on appointing the best candidate for the role.