In celebration of his 10 year anniversary at Eames, Stuart White, a senior partner within our executive search practice Eames Partnership, takes a look back and shares his thoughts on what the future holds.
Reflecting on the last decade, it has certainly been an incredible and rewarding journey for myself and Eames. When I joined the company in 2008, there were just 12 people in one office.
Fast forward to 2018 and we now have over 130 colleagues across London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Zurich in our contingent business, bolstered by a highly reputable, insurance focused executive search and leadership consulting practice, Eames Partnership.
Ten years on from when I started, Eames remains a fun and rewarding environment that fosters a culture of specialty, success and innovation.
So, what’s changed over the last decade?
The recruitment landscape has become increasingly competitive over the last 10 years, fuelled by the advent of LinkedIn and the growth in RPOs and in-house talent acquisition teams.
Nonetheless, the role of headhunters and the need for specialist recruitment firms with deep industry, geographic and functional expertise remains unchanged, particularly when it comes to executive search.
Whilst we have always stuck to our knitting at Eames Partnership, with executive search remaining our prime focus, our nimble and client-centric approach has seen our role evolve into something much more consultative, providing our clients with vital market analysis and data, as well as leadership development tools.
This has come as the (re)insurance industry has continued to face its own challenges over the last decade, forcing carriers and brokers to innovate and become more efficient in order to remain relevant in a competitive marketplace.
With rates pressured, carriers and brokers are increasingly seeking multi-faceted and progressive talent that can add value to the roles they carry out.
What has kept me in the (re)insurance market and executive search?
Having worked as a broker in the Lloyd’s market for a decade at the start of my career, it gets under your skin. The (re)insurance industry still remains a fascinating, vibrant and interesting sector and the London market is still as dynamic and important as it was when I began my career.
Even after 20 years in executive search, it’s appeal has retained its magic. As well as its rewards, we now work on a global scale and are fortunate to meet and place some of the most interesting and influential people in the market. Every assignment is different, and we are constantly working on a variety of classes ranging from cyber to political risks, which definitely keeps you on your toes!
What is the proudest moment of my career to date?
One of my highlights was when we were entrusted to complete a global talent mapping exercise on behalf of a highly regarded and well-known CEO in the market, reflecting our credibility and reputation within the space. This was a wide-reaching report that encompassed 10 lines of business, which we were able to successfully deliver by blending our specialist experience and knowledge of the markets concerned with our dedication to focused execution and accountability, leaving a lasting impression on the client.
The rebranding and formal launch of our dedicated executive search and leadership consulting practice, Eames Partnership, at the start of 2017 is also definitely one of my proudest moments. Not only have we developed a responsive proposition that empathises with the challenges our client’s face, it’s great working with like-minded colleagues who share the same vision and who really understand the ebb and flow of the markets we serve.
Even as the world of recruitment develops, I believe there will always be a need for executive search for a number of reasons, including sensitivity around certain hires, guidance on geographical expansion or entry into unfamiliar and new markets, or simply the need for a third party to facilitate an appointment.
In terms of the (re)insurance sector, there is definitely a lot of change and disruption on the horizon.
While InsurTech has largely focused on personal lines business, technology is moving at an alarming rate and it won’t be long before it truly disrupts the specialty markets as well.
As carriers and brokers innovate to address emerging risks and opportunities, talent requirements will also naturally evolve, with companies already seeking skills and experience from outside the industry - something we have already gained significant experience of.
Finally, there will likely be continued growth in regional hubs as London’s leading position as the global (re)insurance centre comes under threat, while Brexit will also likely have an impact on where business is written. This means that our growing global presence and expertise will continue to add value to our clients.
My top tip for success?
Know your market and know it well! Understanding your markets and staying abreast of global trends translates into credibility. This, combined with in-depth research, proactivity around market developments and the value we place on long-term client relationships, has driven Eames Partnership from strength to strength and I look forward to the next chapter of our journey.