February 9, 2016 – Egon Zehnder has placed Bryce Houghton as chief financial officer (CFO) of multinational law firm Slater and Gordan.
Mr. Houghton was previously CFO of ASX-listed education services provider Navitas for 10 years and before that was CFO at winemaker Evans & Tate.
“Mr. Houghton had strong technical accounting and treasury skills as well as experience in managing operations in Britain and Australia,” said Slater & Gordon managing director Andrew Grech. Slater & Gordon is a multinational law firm headquartered in Australia employing over 2,500 people worldwide. In 2007, it became the first law firm in the world to go public. It is today Australia’s largest consumer law firm.
In recent months, Egon Zehnder has been active in Australia. In September, the firm was selected by supermarket/grocery store chain Woolworths to lead its search for a new chief executive. This past spring, Egon Zehnder placed David Stevenson as CEO of the Western Bulldogs. The Footscray Football Club, currently known as the Western Bulldogs, is an Australian rules football club that plays in the Australian Football League.
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Egon Zehnder’s global CFO practice conducts searches for multinational companies at global, group, regional, and division levels. The practice offers specialized expertise in private equity and emerging markets.
Cagla Bekbolet, based in London, leads the firm’s global financial officers practice and is involved in senior-level appointments in the finance function for international client companies.
According to recent research, about one fifth of companies change their CFOs annually, and the market for financial officers talent has become increasingly competitive — with the best candidates often considering multiple opportunities at any one time. Tightening talent pipelines are edging up CFO pay packages, according to recruiters, making the hunt for CFOs one of the more lucrative areas of the headhunting business.
Recruiters at Philadelphia-based search firm Diversified Search said they now seek leaders in the space who possess “strategic and visioning skills; highly collaborative and mentoring leadership styles; track records of establishing partnerships; and demonstrated entrepreneurial orientation.”
Some companies are also taking an extra step forward when hiring their next CFO, seeking leadership diversity by tapping female finance chiefs. Some leading women CFO contenders, like Kathryn Mikells, newly recruited CFO to premium drinks business Diageo in London, are so in demand that multiple offers are a typical result. Egon Zehnder completed that search last fall.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media