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Senior & executive search


Accountancy & finance


  • Experienced finance director with people skill set required and placed

  • Longstanding relationship with Reed to help secure new talent

  • CLA values open and honest approach by Reed consultants

The challenge

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), the membership organisation for owners of land, property and businesses in rural England and Wales, were looking for an interim finance director to help them determine whether the department was set up and functioning correctly.

Having worked with Reed to supply this interim role, Samantha Horton, CLA’s Director of Human Resources, returned to us for help with finding an individual for the permanent position.

Samantha was looking for someone with that all-important financial experience, but also the necessary people-skills to relate to both internal and external stakeholders and to be a true business partner.

CLA decided the role would be part time and needed someone who could be flexible, according to business requirements.

Jason Imber, Executive Area Manager at Reed, was quick to make a plan, stating: “We initially had a meeting with both Samantha and Sarah Hendry, the Director General, where we discussed the role, what they were looking for in terms of skills and experience, while also looking at potential timelines to manage the process.

“We decided that we needed someone with a good understanding of the role of a finance director and also the charitable sector.”

The solution

Given the importance of finding a permanent finance director, Jason agreed to a quick turnaround time with CLA, aiming to have a shortlist of potential candidates ready within three weeks.

To help achieve this, he recommended they engaged Reed on a retainer agreement – boosting the chances of attracting the right candidate.

He added: “It happened to be the start of the summer period, so we decided to go live with the process once the school holidays ended. We also mapped out a tight but workable timeline to keep the process short and keep the candidates warm in the process.

Jason wanted to make sure he spent adequate time screening potentially suitable candidates to ensure they were the right fit before submitting their details, conducting interviews himself before shortlisting them for the client.

Colin Hewitt, now the Finance Director at CLA, saw the role advertised on and, having shown interest in the role, was contacted by Jason.

Jason kept an excellent line of communication throughout the process. Because Jason and the team at CLA had outlined the timeline of the recruitment process, I knew what to expect at every stage.

Colin Hewitt

Finance Director, Country Land and Business Association

The results

Since starting his role with CLA, Colin has fitted in really well with the team – with his logical, pragmatic approach to the work not going unnoticed.

Colin said: “It’s been very busy – which is a good thing! We are making significant progress. The entire recruitment process with Reed was better than I have come to expect from recruitment agencies in the past – I was well informed throughout.”

Samantha added: “Colin has made such a positive impact. He has brought the team on a great journey with him so far, which was a really key part of being successful in this role.”

Having worked with Jason and Reed for quite a few years now, Samantha believes there’s no reason to look elsewhere when choosing a recruitment agency for future roles.

She said: “Jason always goes above and beyond to provide a fully consultative service – helping tweak job descriptions and giving an honest appraisal of the current candidate market.”

If you are looking for your next executive hire, contact one of our specialist accountancy and finance recruitment consultants today.