Houlden Jewellers, an esteemed consortium of jewellers in the UK and Ireland, enlisted our Executive Search services and expertise to procure a CEO who would spearhead their continued growth, aspirations and goals.

The current CEO of Houlden Jewellers had decided to step down from the role in favour of a role on the board. As a result, they needed a new Chief Executive who could seamlessly take-over the reigns of management and provide stability.

Our client – hOULDEN, Jewellers Consortium 

Houlden is a premium consortium of jewellers from across the UK and Ireland. They are set-up to provide their strong community of elite, independent luxury jewellers with inspiration, advice, and support.

The Houlden community are given the resources and opportunities to increase their margins and improve their bottom line, without affecting their independence. As a group, they engage and connect, with shared vision and values.

Our brief

The organisation needed someone with understanding of the luxury retail sector, experienced in working with diverse members, a strong public speaker, they needed to be proven at leadership and providing motivation to a team. They wanted stability, and an excellent people manager, they had to be experienced at a senior level, either as a CEO, a Managing Director or at a level below. They would also need to be willing to travel to the organisation’s headquarters in Glasgow on a weekly basis.

Houlden needed someone who could work well with a diverse range of stakeholders while working hand-in-glove with the incumbent CEO to fashion a faultless transition.

Our solution

The first step was to determine the characteristics of the individual we would need to find, by objectively obtaining a balanced view from the board and the current CEO, by using profiling tests.

Once we had established the type of candidate we needed to discover, we undertook a dual head-hunting and candidate attraction approach.

We looked for CEOs, Managing Directors and Directors working for luxury goods retail companies, and we received over six hundred applications via our advertising.

After intensive screening we met with forty candidates to establish potential fit, validate experience, and seek their responses to the competency-based questions we had compiled with Houlden.

We undertook personality profiling, of all those candidates whom we established were potentially a good fit, compared to the benchmark profile we had compiled with Houlden.

When meeting the candidates we determined how their on-the-job behaviours would fit the role. For those who progressed to the interview stage with Houlden, we provided the client with specific questions, designed for each candidate, so they could validate how well they fitted the brief.

Our results

Five candidates were referred to Houlden for interview, of which three progressed to second interview. The company had planned to undertake a final evaluation stage, but as they were so convinced of the front-running candidate, they decided it would be better to offer the position immediately.

The candidate who was offered the role came from a background in luxury retail, had strong management skills and proved to be a great fit for the benchmarked role, gelling immediately with the board.

Helen Haddow, outgoing CEO at Houlden stated,

“I was very impressed with the shortlist of candidates provided by Membership Bespoke. The organisation was highly responsive and supportive providing answers to any questions they should ask. The board were impressed with the breadth of the search undertaken, underpinned by their deep knowledge of the membership sector. It put our minds at ease knowing that Membership Bespoke guarantees their Executive Search placements.”

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