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Meet the team – Q&A with Harriet Forbes-Lange, Associate Director, Consumer

January 20th, 2022

Meet the team – Q&A with Harriet Forbes-Lange, Associate Director, Consumer

Harriet Forbes-Lange joins Drax Consumer team as Associate Director, and talks about the companies in house behavioural tool PACE, her experience in search and what value she can bring to the business.

  • You joined Drax in December 2021 as an associate director in our consumer practice. What drew you to the firm?

I was really impressed with the data, platforms and assessment tools that Drax has built and uses on a day-to-day basis. To me (and to many others, I am sure), Executive Search is a real blend of both art and science. Our behavioural profiling via PACE really lifts what we do, allowing us to bring art and flair to our searches, while also keeping us confident in the process. In addition, every member of the consumer team are people I truly wouldn’t mind being on a 12-hour flight with!

  • In previous roles you’ve had exposure to the Asia and US markets. Do the UK’s PE-backed businesses have any cultural points of difference that set them apart?

I think all global regions have things to learn from others. Each region has its nuances and competitive advantages which in turn creates differences to how they are structured. The difference is probably clearer in Asia, where the strongest executives and boards have had exposure to Europe and the US. They have worked within major multinationals thus carry a solid understanding of the global markets and cultural differences. By contrast, in Europe you can quite often see highly respected and successful board executives who have only had exposure to domestic markets. In addition, Asian businesses are far more likely to lean towards the up-and-coming candidate – someone who operates with a ‘fail fast’ mentality, is disruptive and innovative – for significant executive roles. This is despite their relative lack of track record at executive level. European businesses are far more risk averse in this area. NED and Advisory boards are also becoming much more common in Asia as western businesses seek regional expertise and access to local  networks and ‘black books.’ These are powerful routes to market.

  • Of the many mandates you have worked on in your career, can you talk about any which have stood out?

I have been lucky enough to work on some really fascinating opportunities but would say that I was probably most proud of building a global operating partner model for a European private equity fund, placing expertise and advisers in the US, China and Southeast Asia. It was interesting to deep dive into the regional nuances and identify the real movers and shakers in each region. And I introduced them to a fund that historically hadn’t fully operated on a global scale. So, I remain excited to see the impact this has on their portfolio over the years to come.

  • What keeps you busy outside of work?

I really love spending time out and about in the city with my friends exploring new restaurants and bars. Having grown up with a chef for a Dad, I also take a lot of pleasure cooking for my friends and throwing the occasional dinner party.

  • Which is your favourite international city and why?

Bit of a cliché but I absolutely love New York. It’s sunny in the summer, snowy and Christmassy in the winter, with a great shopping and social environment. Best of all the restaurant scene is pretty incomparable to anywhere else I have been.

 

Harriet Forbes-Lange

Associate Director, Consumer & Leisure

HFL@draxexecutive.com

 

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