New Heads

MBO at Leeds-based specialist finance recruiter

The management team at Leeds-based turnaround and finance recruitment advisers Woodrow Mercer Finance has acquired 100% of the equity in the firm. Managing Partner James Roach and chairman Neil Muffitt led the MBO and were joined in the deal by commercial director Natalie McGregor and operations director David Clark who join the board as shareholders. The deal will see the business rebrand to trade as ‘Headstar’.

The business, originally known as Finance Directors Yorkshire (FDYL), was established over 30 years ago and has seen significant growth since its merger with Woodrow Mercer in 2016. From a handful of staff at the time of the merger, the team has grown to 12 consultants, whilst expanding its client and contractor base across the UK.

“After an uncertain start to 2020, we’ve seen the market stabilise. Our revenues have remained strong and are now growing again, and we decided the time was right to go ahead with the deal we had originally planned for last March,” explains James Roach. “The 2016 merger achieved its goal of enabling us to scale rapidly and grow our team and client base, but, for both parties, the time was right to be independent again in order to focus on our own distinct markets.”

Roach continues: “We’ve proven over the last four years that there is a market for straight-talking, evidence-based advice in the management and recruitment of finance teams in businesses. Our inhouse FD expertise in situations such as turnaround means that we can give advice to businesses based on experience rather than a sales-led model. Our team of portfolio and interim financial controllers and directors are helping business owners across the UK navigate through the most difficult of times.”

Referring to the new ‘Headstar’ branding, operations director David Clark commented, “We wanted to position ourselves more clearly as experts in the finance recruitment sector, drawing on the many years’ experience that Neil and James have in actually leading and managing finance departments. At our core, we’re about working with the best finance people in the market to help solve real business problems. Our new strapline is ‘connecting good finance people’ and we felt this summed our offering up well.”

Headstar offers a full range of specialist consultancy and recruitment services from the placement of portfolio financial controllers and finance directors to full-time interims and permanent FCs and FDs. The firm also has a division providing entry level and part and newly-qualified finance staff.


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