February 6, 2017 – The British Council has selected Russell Reynolds Associates to lead its search for a chief financial officer. Consultants Suzanne Bose-Mallick and Oliver Staple are leading the assignment.
The CFO is a key strategic post within the British Council with a broad leadership remit extending across the global organization. As an executive director of the board, the incoming leader will support the CEO in the development and implementation of the overall strategic direction and delivery across the organization covering a number of different support functions in addition to finance. In particular, this individual will lead on the financial strategy and management of the British Council, including representing the organization in a number of strategically important external forums both within Central Government and beyond.
The incoming executive will lead, develop and manage the global finance function to deliver expert financial advice, analysis, treasury and reporting. The chosen candidate will provide leadership and sponsorship to the organization’s Global Financial Transparency Program ensuring that plans are in place to build out its global finance capability.
The Ideal Candidate
The right candidate must have a successful track record as a CFO in an organization with a significant global transformation agenda, leading a multi-location finance team or in an international setting. Having knowledge and experience of managing the governance and financing of organizations with mixed public / private funding is critical.
Experience in dealing with a diverse range of issues across multiple, politically challenging and complex stakeholder environments and of leading negotiations with government is also desired. The CFO will need to have an understanding of the challenges associated with the development and implementation of change programs (people, programs, systems) across many jurisdictions and with a wide range of senior stakeholders.
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As a leading U.K. international organization making a major contribution to the U.K.’s soft power and cultural relations, the British Council, a charity governed by royal charter and a non-governmental departmental body, was founded to create a friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the U.K. and the wider world. The Council does this by making a positive contribution to the countries in which it works, using the cultural assets of the U.K. in the areas of education, English language, arts, sports, science, innovation, creativity and the sharing of the U.K.’s values and ways of living. It is currently on the ground in over 100 countries and with a staff exceeding 10,000.
Ms. Bose-Mallick is a member of Russell Reynolds’ non-profit sector, as well as its digital and diversity practices. She works on senior executive and non-executive roles in the U.K. public sector. In addition to extensive work with the Financial Conduct Authority, she has worked on board level searches for many of the U.K.’s largest NHS Foundation Trusts, as well as on the appointments of the chief inspector of adult social care and the chief inspector of general practice at the CQC. Ms. Bose-Mallick also worked with the British Council on the appointment of its CEO.
Mr. Staple is a member of the firm’s corporate officers sector. His clients include a wide spectrum of financial services teams in industries ranging from retail to commercial banking to insurance. He executes searches for a multiplicity of functional roles, including CFOs, CROs, COOs, auditors and general counsels. He is based in RRA’s London office.
Recent Search Activity
Russell Reynolds Associates’ public sector, trade and associations practice group serves a wide variety of public sector and not-for-profit organizations, related public bodies, regulators, and government-owned companies. It also fills the executive leadership needs of global charities, healthcare providers, and local government and trade associations.
The search firm has been active serving non-profits in recent months. Just recently, it tapped Michael E. Hill as the 18th president of The Chautauqua Institution. The search was led by Russell Reynolds’ Washington, D.C., and Boston offices. Mr. Hill previously served as president and CEO of Youth For Understanding USA.
The firm also recently recruited Kevin Watkins as chief executive officer of Save the Children International (SCI). Mr. Watkins joined Save the Children after a three year term as executive director of the influential U.K. think tank Overseas Development Institute. The firm also just recently placed Melanie Waters as chief executive officer of Help for Heroes, one of the best known charities in the U.K. In addition, the firm is currently leading searches for other U.K. charities, including Care Quality Commission, the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust (RBH), and the U.K. Export Finance (UKEF).
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media