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The Company

Canford Healthcare was originally formed in 2007 by Directors Brian Cooney and Barry Lambert with the aim of providing high quality care services for all their residents and customers. Since it’s inception Canford Healthcare has grown from strength to strength and currently operates ten care homes, two domiciliary care services and a care consultancy business located predominately in the South East and London. With revenues of £28m the group are one of the premier care homes providers in the South East.

In February 2015, Canford partnered with US based Ventas REIT, one of the largest healthcare real-estate investment trusts in the world in order to grow market-share in the UK through targeted acquisition. In June 2015 with Ventas backing, Canford purchased Churchgate Healthcare Ltd, a group of five new build care homes with 351 beds across Essex and Kent, to complement the existing five Canford care homes and incorporate them into the Canford Group. To lead the integration of the new business and simultaneously lead the M&A due diligence activities for new acquisitions over the following twelve months, a new Interim Group FD was required and Sherrington Associates were retained to carry out the search for a candidate. 

The Brief

With exacting requirements both in terms of technical financial skills and strategic M&A experience this was a challenging assignment to find candidates with the right hard skills as well as the softer cultural traits in order to assimilate into the business. Being privately owned and VC backed, the candidate would need the right level of entrepreneurial drive and agility to thrive in an ever changing commercial environment as well as the strategic brain to contribute innovative thinking to the board meetings.

The search

With England's South Coast being a notoriously challenging geography in which to recruit, particularly at this level, our search involved a wide region incorporating London and a large area of Devon and Hampshire. Research was carried out into both the care homes sector as well as separate research to prioritise finding candidates with relevant M&A experience. Over eighty senior Finance Directors were identified before a long list of ten were invited for assessment with Sherrington. Following a painstaking selection stage that involved both behavioural and job-specific competency assessments, a final shortlist was identified.

The Result

The shortlist was presented and an ex big four FD was appointed with a strong background in mergers and acquisitions and working with overseas investors. Within the first six months of being appointed the candidate had integrated IT systems and carried out a full review of the financial systems across the group leading to his contract being extended beyond the original tenure.

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