Case Study | Executive Search for Head of Internal Controls
January 28, 2021
by Krista Bradford

Case Study of Executive Search for Head of Internal Controls



Case Study Scenario

Case study of executive search for Head of Internal Controls. Our client, one of the world’s top management consulting firms, needed to hire a Senior Executive to build and lead a brand new internal controls function in its finance department.  Our client had recently undergone a significant transformation. The company had just split their operations in two – half now owned and operated as a partnership, the other half, our client, now controlled by a private equity firm. The original organization’s finance team was absorbed into the partnership, leaving our client with the task of building a brand new finance function from scratch. Not only was our client building a brand new finance team, they were also putting in place the fiscal infrastructure necessary to move the company forward into the future – a future that might possibly involve an Initial Public Offering. To prepare for the potential IPO, they needed a senior-level executive to create and lead the Internal Controls and Compliance team.


The Challenge

The consulting firm came well equipped with a strong internal executive search team. However, finding a candidate who would meet all of their requirements was proving extraordinarily difficult. The client had interviewed a number of candidates from the Big 4 accounting firms, but none seemed right. More importantly, the company couldn’t afford to fail to fill the search. It was simply too high profile and too important. However, the early applicants did not have the right mix of skills. Some lacked the experience of actually building an internal controls team. Others had never been involved in taking a company public. Those who had the IPO experience often lacked the required tenure at a large, publicly held corporation. Another complicating factor was that the candidate pool was confined to a geographic area with a very small, very tight-knit community of finance executives and an even smaller population of publicly held companies. Lastly, the candidate had to be willing to leave their current position for one where there was no program in place and where they would be willing to start from scratch.


Actionable Intelligence

During our engagement, the Federal Government announced that it was taking over the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation known as Freddie Mac.  While they made the announcement on a Sunday, much to the shock and dismay of employees that Monday, we were prepared. Highly-placed sources within Freddie Mac had told us that the institution was in financial trouble. As a result, we had already made the mortgage giant one of our top targets. We had already developed a candidate there who had originally expressed tepid interest in the opportunity. He had just joined Freddie Mac and felt it was too soon for him to leave. Interestingly, when we presented his profile in our initial target list, our client thought it unlikely he’d move forward because he was too senior and too highly compensated. Undeterred, we followed up and learned that he was ideally suited for the role. Upon hearing the news of the government takeover, the candidate’s tepid interest turned white-hot. Within days, using intelligence we’d gathered to position the offer, our client offered our candidate the job. He immediately accepted.

I think what sets you aside is the data you provide both during the search and at the end. I feel this search was a success because the client understood that we had seen the market. The data we received was a surprise – a pleasant surprise.” – Head of Recruiting


The Results

Intellerati presented the winning candidate in just 13 business days. In addition, we delivered a second candidate to whom they extended another offer. All told, in just a month’s time, we produced five interested, qualified candidates. Moreover, Intellerati delivered comprehensive research conducted during the course of the search that our client used to launch another search for the finance organization. That valuable research resulted in the hire of an additional member of the team at no additional cost.


Performance Metrics

  • 1 business day: Initial target list
  • 1 business day: First candidate presented
  • 13 business days: Winning candidate presented
  • Bonus Research: 100+ senior finance executive profiles
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