Exclusive Search for Head of Security Architecture and Engineering for European Retail Bank


This major European retail bank was seeking to hire a Head of Security Architecture and Engineering as part of a wide-ranging programme to re-engineer and upgrade its Cyber and Information Security function. The role required a seasoned professional with a broad-based technical background and the leadership capabilities to develop the function and build relationships across the entire senior leadership team to ensure that both the technical improvements and the required change in cultural were fully developed and embedded. It was important that the bank was seen to have gone beyond what the local market could offer to ensure the appointment of a person with the international standing and reputation to provide the regulator and other key stakeholders with the reassurance that the cyber and information security function was bring properly invested in and led.


As this Head of Security Architecture and Engineering hire was part of a wider re-organisation of the management team, this was a sensitive hire and the search had to be conducted confidentially. It was agreed that we would undertake an exclusive search using NDA agreements to ensure confidentiality at all stages of the process. In order to identify candidates with the seniority and reputation that the bank needed, this was a global search requiring full coverage of all relevant active and passive cyber and information security professionals across Europe, the US and Asia. Using our knowledge of the international cyber security profession and our extensive networks of cyber security leaders, we were able to agree a resourcing strategy with the client and then rapidly convert this into a working list of contacted candidates.


The initial search generated a long list of over 200 potential candidates and approaching them to assess suitability and gain commitment to the recruitment process took around 2 weeks. This work resulted in a long list of around 20 qualified and interested candidates of the calibre sought. This list was then discussed in detail with the client with 10 individuals included on the shortlist for full assessment and interviews. The final stages of the selection process involved 4 stages of interviews with HR and key stakeholders, psychometric assessment to ensure alignment of the candidates’ values and behaviours with the bank’s, taking into account international cultural differences. The position was successfully filled with one of these candidates and due diligence and onboarding processes completed within 6 months of receiving the initial instruction.