It was announced today that, after an extensive media executive search, Euromoney Institutional Investor has replaced its MD, Richard Ensor, with a member of the Euromoney board, Christopher Fordham. Moreover, it was announced that Ensor would become Executive Chairman of the business, replacing Padraic Fallon who has held the position for a number of years.
This is one of those moves that normally makes me raise my eyebrows. You call that a search? Usually, given these announcements, I am reminded of James Murdoch’s appointment as CEO of BSKyB in 2003 – and look how well that turned out.
But Euromoney is arguably different. While it is self-evidently true to say that a company has a unique culture, in Euromoney’s case this has been critical in its success. And it has been incredibly successful: it has a market cap approaching £1bn and is likely to announce profits of over £100m this year. As this article shows, when Ensor took over, the company was making one tenth of that.
Fordham joined the company in 2000 (placed, as it happens, by my former business partner John Watts), and has since overseen a hugely successful strategy of organic and acquisition-driven growth. Like his predecessor, he is very smart, with an absolute grasp of detail and a gut instinct for strong businesses. He will fill Ensor’s boots admirably – just as Ensor will fill Fallon’s.
I don’t envy the search company that had to try to better Fordham (it wasn’t us). Executive search is all about covering the market to ensure that your client has absolutely the best candidate for the job. As frustrating as it may be, you sometimes have to accept that the best candidate is already in the business.