How the right executive search partner can make all the difference.

March 15, 2024


Identifying and securing the best talent is critical to your success, it can feel like you are hunting for a golden egg, never more so than in today’s challenging markets. Whether you are in a high growth phase pushing into new markets, perhaps pursuing international expansion or an ambitious M&A strategy, or in a restructuring and turnaround phase facing difficult decisions, having the right team in place to create and execute that strategy is crucial. The right executive search partner alongside you in that process can make all the difference – in this post we look at a case study to demonstrate how Firefly Partners’ depth of experience and insight gave our client the support and guidance needed to get to a successful result.

Executive search expertise

You need an executive search partner who really understands your situation, and takes the time to thoroughly understand your business and culture along with the drivers behind the role. We have many years of senior executive recruitment experience, predominantly as a supplier but also as a mandating client which gives us an additional insight into how important and potentially tricky senior recruitment can be. You don’t need a regurgitated list of names who vaguely fit the remit, you need a provider who can tap into an extensive network but who is also highly practised at researching markets, sourcing and evaluating the best candidates then staying close to both client and candidate throughout the whole process until the start date and beyond.

Below is a case study demonstrating how our executive search offering can operate in practice and help our clients reach their desired outcomes.

Case study – Maritime Clean Technology Company

Client and Search Brief

Firefly Partners were retained by a leading maritime clean technology company focused on carbon and fuel reduction technologies, to help them broaden their leadership team with three senior director hires. Our client is a market leading, high growth, venture backed and founder-run provider of hull air lubrication systems in the marine sector. With an impressive customer base, this award-winning business was at an exciting stage in its growth story. In order to capitalise on its success to date and propel it into new markets, our client needed to expand its commercial leadership capability.

Our remit was to work with the Chief Operating Officer to help recruit three directors who would each be responsible for driving the growth of individual business units covering distinct markets. Our client was seeking candidates who would bring blue-chip corporate experience in the requisite markets and customer base, coupled with proven track records of commercial success. In addition to this, but just as important, the candidates needed to bring the right cultural fit and mindset – whilst a blue-chip background, training and skillset were desired, our client prides themselves on their entrepreneurial, dynamic, and innovative culture which the preferred candidates would need to align with and add to. 

Our search process

As with all our executive searches, we started with research, tapping into our extensive network whilst also thoroughly researching the market in the UK and Europe. Initial approaches to candidates were followed by telephone then video interviews. Longlist candidates were met in person for in-depth interviews against the Candidate Brief which had been prepared by us. As the list of candidates narrowed, detailed Candidate Reports were prepared on each individual allowing our client to readily compare the individual candidate’s experience, skills, education, compensation and match to the brief.

Assessing a candidate’s motivations and values is core to what we do, ensuring the fit is right, that the candidate’s personal goals and values align with that of the organisation. These attributes were particularly important in this instance given the shift candidates were considering in moving from a large corporate organisation to a more entrepreneurial environment.

 The Search in a Snapshot

  • 110 candidates on research list
  • 60 candidates approached
  • 40+ initial interviews
  • 12 in-depth interviews
  • 10 candidates shortlisted and Candidate Reports presented
  • 7 candidates interviewed by client
  • 3 candidates offered, 3 candidates hired

The search results

As the research and interview phases came to a conclusion, our client made three job offers and secured directors from GE, Siemens and Wärtsilä. We continued to work closely with our client and the preferred candidates throughout the contract negotiation, supporting both parties through to the start date, helping to ensure their relationship began on the best footing possible.

All three directors remain with the business and continue to add to the company’s impressive growth. The business goes from strength to strength – it was awarded the King’s Award for Enterprise (International Trade) in 2023 and features in the FT 1000 Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies listing securing its place in the Top 25 in Europe and 3rd in the UK for two consecutive years, 2023 and 2024.

Why Firefly Partners should be your executive search partner

With many years of recruitment experience as both supplier and client, we really understand what it takes to secure the right talent. Our executive search experience spans multiple sectors and geographies, focusing on board and senior management roles, both executive and non-executive. With 20 years dedicated to private equity or venture capital backed businesses as well as owner-managed, we genuinely understand the unique dynamic and challenges you are facing. 

We would love to discuss how we can help with your senior executive search.

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