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Case Study - GBG Chief People Officer & HR Team Build Out

Updated: Feb 21, 2019

The Brief

On taking the initial brief, GBG was a data intelligence business based in the North West with a turnover of £60m and a total headcount of approximately 600. The vision was to globally scale the business through a series of acquisitions across different jurisdictions. Given the likely complexities associated with these growth plans and the cultural differences that already existed across different business divisions, the senior leadership team recognised the need for a best in class HR function.

The Challenge

Having been engaged by the CEO and a NED, the rest of the business were unaware of the hiring plans. As such, we had to conduct a series of “discovery sessions” with the senior leadership team to identify the key challenges facing the business and establish a way forward. The new Chief People Officer had to be someone who had been on a similar journey to the one GBG were about to embark upon and also had to have an in-depth knowledge of the technology space. The main location of the business also presented a challenge in terms of candidate attraction.

The Solution

As this was a highly confidential assignment, the discovery sessions were crucial in establishing the parameters for the search and how that would be delivered using an approach and in a time frame suitable to GBG. It was important to consider the key HR related areas which the new CPO would look to affect when evaluating candidate profiles in addition to where they would be based. The recruitment process itself was extremely interactive, with weekly update meetings and a detailed search report outlining not only the shortlisted candidates but all other individuals engaged with. The assignment was successfully completed on time and the new CPO went on to instruct True North to build out a team of direct reports including a Head of Talent Development and Head of People Operations.

About True North

True North advise and build the leadership and management teams of some of the world’s most innovative and fast growth technology enabled businesses. We also work with corporates undertaking ambitious change and transformation.

For more information about this project or our other services please contact Norman Burden or email us at