Sourcing A Chief Internal Auditor for A Regional Bank, UAE

Role: Chief Internal Auditor
Company: Regional Bank, UAE


The previous Chief Internal Auditor was retiring after many years’ service. The client wanted to take the opportunity to bring in someone who could develop the function, introducing the latest thinking on international standards, audit methodology and the use of automated audit tools. This person would have international banking experience and be well versed in modern audit techniques in a digitized banking environment. The client, however, also felt that they would need an appreciation of the business culture in the Middle East region and that they would need to be comfortable working in a relatively small full-service bank, where hands-on management was required alongside credibility at Board level.

The challenge was, to not only to source a candidate with the relevant technical skills, but also to identify someone who could make a significant impact on the development and modernisation of the internal audit function whilst being able to communicate at all levels.


We agreed with the client that a search approach was most appropriate, to ensure that a thorough assessment of the internal audit leadership talent in the Middle East, and also internationally for candidates with previous experience in the region who may be willing to return to the area.
We assigned a lead consultant to work with the client, backed up by a research team. The search approach was multi-faceted, involving searching active and inactive candidates from our own database, but also undertaking a search on a global basis through research, referrals from our network and advertising on appropriate specialist media.
Given the preference for local experience, the Middle East market was mapped for senior bank audit professionals, much of this knowledge we already possessed and maintained, and further research in geographic areas such as Europe, North America, Australia, and Singapore where likely candidates were also to be found.


We developed a Long List of potential candidates which we shared with our client on a regular basis. From this, preferred candidates were identified, approached and introduced to the role. The most appropriate and interested candidates were interviewed against specific parameters requested by our client including skills, motivation, management experience and communication skills. A Short List of the most appropriate candidates was built and presented to the client within the agreed timetable of six weeks.

We presented the Short List in person to the client including CVs, interview notes, competency assessments, profiles and other background information. Our client then commenced an interview process which we timetabled to ensure an efficient process than maintained momentum. Following a final interview our client identified a preferred candidate and also a strong reserve within four weeks of receiving the Short List.

We ensured that they had all the information regarding remuneration they required to make an offer and we were happy to mediate in this process to guarantee both sides had clarity and expectations were appropriately managed. Our client’s offer was duly accepted by the candidate.

As is always the case in the Middle East, the acceptance of an offer is not the end of the process as the onboarding mechanism can take some time. We made sure that the successful candidate was clear about this process and maintained their enthusiasm whilst background checks were done, documents attested, and a visa issued. Only once this process was completed was it safe for the candidate to resign and agree a start date.