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Our expert in-house capability provides accurate, up-to-date and incisive research to deliver swift, precise outcomes. Targeted individuals are engaged with care and professionalism and the client opportunity presented in a clear and well-prepared format.

Our News

Our expert in-house capability provides accurate, up-to-date and incisive research to deliver swift, precise outcomes. Targeted individuals are engaged with care and professionalism and the client opportunity presented in a clear and well-prepared format.

From the Navy to headhunting – meet Chris Green

Chris Green, Howgate Sable

Chris Green recently joined the Manchester team here at Howgate Sable and will join partners Neil Humphreys and Nick Irving in delivering a broad range of projects across our EMI and aviation practice groups. Bringing impressive experience sourcing high-level candidates within the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors, he’s placed top executives in major companies in the UK and across the globe.

Now he’s found his feet at Howgate Sable, we took five minutes to get to know him a little better. Read on…


1. What’s your background and how did you come to work at Howgate Sable?

A career in headhunting certainly wasn’t what I planned! After graduating with a Masters in Modern History from the University of Oxford, I became a warfare officer in the Royal Navy and later spent six years as an officer in the Royal Naval Reserve.

I decided to join the search profession in 2003, originally operating in the investment banking market. I then switched sectors in 2010 and my core focus became the industrial markets – mostly transport (road, rail and air), infrastructure (construction, built environment and capital projects) and manufacturing.

This year, I was swayed by Howgate Sable’s outstanding track record and accrued domain expertise in my key sectors to join the team and I’ve been here about a month now – settling in nicely!

2. Why excites you about executive search?

I simply get a kick from finding candidates who go on to make a positive, tangible difference to my clients. It’s always exciting when you find a candidate to take a role, but it’s even more rewarding when you see the difference they’ve made a year or two down the line.

3. Who would be your dream client?

The Royal Navy. It’s a fantastic organisation with outstanding values and an unrivalled heritage. It also boasts an extraordinary pedigree of producing leaders who can fight and win.

4. How do you predict the search market will change over the next decade?

It’s becoming increasingly important for search consultants to have genuine sector expertise and I expect this emphasis on knowledge will only grow as time goes on and the market becomes more competitive.

5. Your particular areas of expertise are EMI and aviation. How have these industries developed during the time you’ve worked in executive search and what are the key issues at the moment?

In all the markets I work in, there are ongoing challenges surrounding diversity, productivity, Brexit, digitisation and smart supply chains – and I don’t see these subsiding any time soon. However, in terms of those that I feel are most pertinent right now, I’d have to point to two very much linked themes: leadership and safety.

The role of the leader is more important than ever. Great leaders value the wellbeing of their employees and are able to recruit, build, retain and motivate exceptional teams. They instil and live the values by which an organisation becomes more than the sum of its parts. Leadership is the ability to motivate others to willingly follow and all great leaders lead by example. Without the power of example, leaders have no credibility.

As for safety, of course the industries I serve are by nature safety-critical. Every employee has the right to go home safe at the end of the day and a well-run business will always have robust safety culture. Safety is about rigour, process, accountability and structure. It’s also about leadership – if the executive team doesn’t practise what it preaches in terms of safety, no one else will.

As markets become more competitive and economic factors disrupt operations, it’s crucial for candidates in my sectors to embody these traits if they’re to succeed.

6. If you weren’t in executive search, what would you be doing?

I would’ve quite liked to be an actor – not sure if it’s an overactive imagination or whether I just like the attention!

7. Which individual has inspired you most in your career and in what way?

My mum. She taught that an individual’s worth is not to be measured by what they get from the world, but by what they put into it.

8. What’s your claim to fame?

I’m a published historian and I once stood next to a serving prime minister in the gents’ toilets – name withheld to protect the innocent!

9. Which conversation do you wish you’d been a fly on the wall for?

The Cabinet meeting in May 1940 when Churchill convinced the Cabinet to fight on against Hitler after Dunkirk.

10. Finally, what’s your elevator pitch?

I think I’d only need to go up one floor… I find and place candidates who add enduring value post-appointment – it’s as simple as that.


If you want to know more about our other consultants within EMI and aviation, read our Q&As with Neil Humphreys and Nick Irving.

The EMI Practice at Howgate Sable really took the time to understand our situation and find exceptional candidates who could fulfil challenging international leadership assignments for a truly global company with a history that spans well over 200 years.

It was a first class experience and positive outcome on many levels.


Barry McDonnell – Director of Manufacturing at De La Rue International

I have worked with the Howgate Sable team on several occasions whilst hiring mission-critical executives. Partnership is the byword for this organisation – they act as an extension of my team and work hard to support me not only in the technical solution, but in the sense of a deep understanding of my specific requirements. Delivery is the key measure of our talent partners and Howgate Sable have always achieved what was asked of them.

Jesper Berg – SVP HR, ABB

Having worked with Howgate Sable as a client and as a candidate I can confidently say their ability to deliver on complex searches is second to none. They not only have a detailed knowledge of the marketplace but also understand the importance of cultural fit. 

Bridget Lea – O2

I was particularly impressed with Howgate Sable’s knowledge and network in the aviation sector, the quality of the candidates provided at shortlist and the availability of Nick and the team to provide us with advice and guidance on candidates when required. Nick was particularly effective in understanding our needs as a Company and being flexible in adapting requirements and plans.

Paul Hutchings – Thomas Cook Group Airlines

I have recently worked with Nick from Howgate Sable to recruit a new Head of Aircraft Operations for Thomson Airways. I was particularly impressed by the wide-reaching search undertaken and the quality of the candidates put forward. The skills match to the brief was excellent and I am delighted with the individual we selected.

Dawn Wilson – Thomson Airways

From their initial call to me the Aviation practice team at Howgate Sable demonstrated a significant difference. Straightforward and to the point, the extent of their network and deep insight into the industry was immediately evident. The added value I have received as a candidate is tangible. An almost instant rapport quickly developed into a focused business relationship which is open, honest, respectful and above all trustworthy.

Carl Gissing