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The Brief

Who wouldn’t want to work for one of the top global reinsurers operating in more than 25 countries globally? The South African operation is given solid support by the parent company and is perceived to be one of the strongest technical reinsurers in the MEA region. One would think this kind of search would be a walk in the park

Top company, great brand, global exposure, tremendous growth opportunity. But the wish-list of criteria meant that this was going to be more like walking through the desert. Not only would the individual need to be exceptional technically (a qualified actuary), but also great at business development, an outstanding people leader, and willing to travel extensively across the continent.

Challenge and Outcomes

The bottom line: the pool of candidates was truly tiny, and all the potential individuals were employed elsewhere. Mostly, very happily. Or at least, moderately happily. On top of this, we became aware at the same time that another major reinsurer was recruiting for a similar role.

So it was a true test of diligence and determination that our search team managed to shortlist five candidates – all highly regarded in the industry, extremely well qualified, and very nervous about confidentiality and discretion.

In a search of this nature, concerns around confidentiality cannot be under-estimated. Everyone knows everyone at the top of the sector. Together with our client, we needed to be very mindful and sensitive, and to manage the process with full care.

Of course, the story ends happily (or else we probably wouldn’t be telling it). Less than a year after being appointed, this leader has been cited as delivering significant business growth.

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