UKTI – Director General, Beijing

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The search was focused on retaining exceptional and diverse talent capable of fulfilling the responsibilities that come as a member of the Ambassador’s senior management team. We worked with our clients, led by the COO, Jon Harding, to devise a campaign that targeted candidates with experience in business, government, consulting and professional services, and international relations.

Our research-led search needed to identify candidates with the commercial, economic and political expertise to ensure UK businesses could exploit the opportunities in the China market, so the UK can increase its share of foreign direct investment from China, including investment from Sovereign Wealth Funds into the UK's infrastructure.

A key challenge was balancing the requirement for candidates with proven reputations, which would bring credibility at the highest levels in the UK and China, with the demonstrable ability to operate in highly sensitive diplomatic settings.

The relationship with our client was highly proactive, sounding out candidates with them as the search progressed. This approach was essential to managing risk and expectations on all sides and to ensuring that the most senior stakeholders were engaged at every stage. As a result we delivered an exceptional shortlist with five out of six candidates considered appointable by the client. The calibre and diversity of candidates’ experience on the search-led shortlist included:

  • A senior Investment Banker with significant international experience of infrastructure working in China and South East Asia. Experience includes advising leading corporates on acquisitions and disposals in the infrastructure sector; advising governments on privatisations in both developed and emerging economies as well as energy industry restructuring, demonstrating significant Ministerial exposure
  • A female civil servant with an extensive public sector career across a number of departments, more recently with a strong focus on international trade and development. As a seasoned Programme Manager, she brings significant skills and experience in policy analysis, economics, business strategy, politics and forging and developing international relations
  • A senior China professional whose entire career hadbeen dedicated to supporting international business in China. With 30 years' experience of trade and investment in China, he has a particular emphasis on consumer brands, manufacturing and financial institutions and has strong high level relationships across government, multinationals and Chinese corporations
  • A financially trained business professional with over twenty years business experience across the chemicals, alcoholic beverages, ship certification/inspection and infrastructure engineering consultancy sectors. Successfully made the transition to Chinese and Indian markets at Managing Director level for one of the largest international design and engineering infrastructure consultancies
  • A leading investment and corporate financial adviser to China who accompanied recent Prime Ministerial, Ministerial and Lord Mayoral delegations to China and neighbouring countries in Asia. He brought over twenty five years of corporate finance experience and has been actively involved in start-up venture capital, development capital, private placings, privatisations and M&A activities as well as a multitude of IPOs and fundraisings.

We successfully appointed Catherine Raines who brought an excellent blend of public and private sector experience developed at a very senior level, previously operating as Deputy Chief Executive for Nottingham County Council leading the commercialisation of the organisation, moving it to the top of the UK leader board for jobs created through inward investment.   Catherine has 20 years’ experience in the private sector, including two years Board level leadership based in Shanghai for AstraZeneca, a FTSE10 company,  where she was personally responsible for dealing directly with local, national and international politicians and the business community to secure significant investment into China.


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