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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.

We say thank you and goodbye to Alison Sharman

This week, our hearts are heavy at Howgate Sable as we say goodbye to our longest standing employee, Alison Sharman. As we’re sadly unable to give our finance director the send off she deserves, we caught up with her to chat about her time with the business and plans for retirement.

The brains behind our back office, Alison joined Howgate Sable as practice manager in 1994. Despite the title ‘FD’, her role evolved over the years to encompass personnel, legal, IT and property. A true secret weapon, Alison has been instrumental in ensuring that things run smoothly.

How did your journey with Howgate Sable begin?

I was previously a manager in the corporate tax department at Coopers & Lybrand, working with clients such as Manchester Airport and Woolworths. After starting a family, I was looking for something more flexible and it was actually my husband who came across the job at Howgate Sable. He was given a complimentary newspaper on the one and only overseas business flight he has ever taken and noticed the advert for the role. Some might say it was fate!

What was the search industry like in the 90s?

Well, it was very much life before LinkedIn! IT was still in its infancy and there was no internet, so our processes were very different.

Recruitment was much more focused on selection than search. We’d spend a fortune on job advertisements in the broadsheets and applications would come in by post. Two sacks of mail would arrive each day and it would be all hands on deck to open and sort it, never mind assess and respond to it.

What are your career highlights?

There have been so many! In general, watching the business grow and seeing the calibre of clients on our portfolio progress over time has been wonderful. We are recognised by some of the world’s biggest brands as true experts in our field and that’s the product of years of hard work.

Converting from partnership to LLP was a pivotal moment for the business too, as well as our move to our current office. Milestones like this are real symbols of success and I’ve loved playing my part in them.

What advice would you give to any budding female finance directors?

I’ve been lucky to find an employer that valued my skills but also recognised that work/life balance was important to me, especially when my children were young.

With hindsight, I’d encourage female FDs to ensure that they place enough value on their own skills, knowledge and experience. Equality has taken big strides in recent years but we’re not there yet, so you have to believe in yourself if you’re going to persuade others to do so. However, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your personal life.

Modern working practices are changing – we’ve discovered during lockdown that whole businesses can thrive without using an office. Up-and-coming female professionals can take advantage of flexible working practices – you can still build a career and make an impact without working full time.

What are your plans for retirement?

Unfortunately, like everyone, the coronavirus outbreak has put a stop to my immediate plans for a summer of socialising and travel. However, once we get back to normal, I’ll be playing lots of tennis, catching up on lost time with friends and family and, of course, meeting up with my Howgate Sable colleagues for the leaving celebrations we had planned!

What will you miss most about Howgate Sable?

That’s easy – my colleagues. It sounds cliché but over the years, they’ve become true friends. Working with such a close knit team, you get to know each other really well and I’ll miss the camaraderie.

Thank you, Alison! We’re truly grateful for all your years of service and will really miss you. For now, we’ll toast your retirement from a distance and look forward to catching up soon.

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