Accordant Group Acquires Hobson Leavy

February 8, 2023 – Recruitment company Accordant Group Limited has acquired Auckland, New Zealand-based executive search firm Hobson Leavy. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. “We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of another well-respected and market leading brand into the Accordant Group,” said Jason Cherrington, CEO of Accordant Group. “Hobson Leavy’s commitment to quality work and excellent outcomes is well regarded across the business community and aligns strongly with our existing culture and ethos. We look forward to working with founders Carrie Hobson, Stephen Leavy, and the team over the coming months as we bring added capability in executive search to Accordant clients, whilst introducing our wider group expertise and capacity to the Hobson Leavy team.”

Highlighting the integration of previous acquisitions, Mr. Cherrington added: “As announced at our annual general meeting last year, growth via acquisition remains a key pillar of Accordant’s strategic plan, building our capability, reach, and additional services with purpose. This announcement is another significant step forward on that journey.”

The acquisition was funded from existing debt facilities and is expected to grow annual EBITDA in excess of $2 million. In FY22, Accordant reported an annual revenue of $221.5 million, the result of placing just under 11,000 people into temporary, contract, and permanent work.

Accordant chair Simon Bennett reflected on the group’s trajectory that began nearly a decade ago with the acquisition of Madison Recruitment. “We had a well-established national (New Zealand) footprint in the blue-collar sector with AWF,” he said. “Madison brought diversification into the white-collar space, and the collective scale of it compelled the group to consider the role it had in supporting the growth and development of ‘NZ Inc.’ Complementary acquisitions of Absolute IT in 2016 and JacksonStone & Partners in 2019 provided further breadth and depth of expertise for clients.”

Hobson Leavy’s strong identity and operational leadership will remain, which is consistent with Accordant’s previous acquisition strategies. Founders Carrie Hobson and Stephen Leavy will continue to lead the business. The firm said they are excited to continue delivering high-quality service with the opportunity to utilize new access to the group’s infrastructure, broader network, and additional offerings.

“We now have the backing of a listed company, but what’s more pleasing is that we are part of a group whose entire focus is on solutions for the unique needs of New Zealand’s labor market,” said Ms. Hobson.

“Against the backdrop of an election year, recessionary concerns, and the changing world of work, New Zealand organizations are developing their 2023 hiring and retention strategies, and Accordant remains well positioned to help solve those challenges,” said Mr. Bennett.

Related: Hunt Scanlon Media Launches M&A Advisory Service for Recruiters

Accordant Group is listed on the NZX. It is comprised of AWF, Madison Recruitment, Absolute IT and JacksonStone & Partners, with capability spanning all aspects of commercial and industrial recruitment services, including temporary, contract, and permanent assignments.

A Range of Access

Hobson Leavy, founded in 2006 by Ms. Hobson and Mr. Leavy, focuses on CEO and executive-level and non-executive director appointments across all sectors in New Zealand. The firm has completed searches in sectors ranging from agriculture to wealth management. It has offices in Auckland and Wellington.

M&A Activity for Recruiting and Talent Platforms Expected to Heat Up In 2023
Acquisitions made big news in the recruiting industry this past year, and for good reason. Outside investors caught on to the sector’s expansion potential and long growth runway ahead. Top search leaders also found ways to maximize profit (cutting back on office space helped every search firm achieve a better bottom line in 2022). That made them highly attractive to private equity firms seeking platforms they could accelerate, and scale.

Ms. Hobson has over 25 years of corporate experience, initially in banking and finance and later in executive search. She has held senior positions in corporate banking with major banks in both New Zealand and the U.S. and has worked with top-level executives optimizing financial performance and implementing company strategy. She has held directorships in both the private and public sectors, with particular expertise in finance, health and human resources. Prior to Hobson Leavy, Ms. Hobson was a partner with another New Zealand executive search firm.

Mr. Leavy has extensive international experience in senior-level executive recruitment. He began his career as a solicitor with New Zealand law firm Russell McVeagh. He then moved to London where he joined professional services recruitment firm Quarry Dougall, becoming an associate director. He remained with the firm after its acquisition by Nasdaq-listed TMP Worldwide. Mr. Leavy later returned to New Zealand and was a partner with another leading New Zealand executive search firm before co-founding Hobson Leavy.

Related: Will Hot M&A Recruiting Market Cool and Reset Valuations

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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