The Challenge

In 2017 our UK partners worked with Arup, the globally renowned multi-disciplinary professional services organisation, to appoint Paul Robinsons successor as Global People Leader.

The incoming Global People Leader would be a key figure in the development and implementation of the organisation’s future strategies, especially the People Strategy. The successful candidate would work at the forefront of facilitating Arup’s evolution, to create an environment to attract and retain people of quality, responding to the future needs of the business. Arup is known for having a distinctive and values driven culture, as a result the new Global People Leader would demonstrate the ability to build effective long term relationships with a diverse range of internal stakeholders. They would be influential and consultative in the approach, and be highly collaborative and thoughtful in their leadership style.

The right candidates would bring a deep understanding of and have a proven track record of executive/group level leadership. Whilst operational leadership at a comparable scale was not considered a necessity, it was preferable for candidates to bring experience of working at an international level, and as such be comfortable leading a global remit.

Our approach and success

In response to these priorities, our research strategy was wide-ranging and across a number of sectors. We conducted a cross-sector search, looking broadly in the professional services sector, law firms, management and strategy consultancies, engineering consultancies. In addition we mapped construction, infrastructure, and manufacturing organisations, higher education and academic publishers. Finally, we considered best in class organisations that had either a similar operating model, or that represented a potential match culturally.

Our shortlist of four candidates all held Global HRD roles at very large, international organisations ranging across the private sector, international development, higher education and professional services.

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