Odgers Ray & Berndtson buys The Berwick Group

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Under the chairmanship of veteran headhunter Roddy Gow, the financial services search practice in London is expected to double in capacity, offering a broad-ranging service to clients on a global basis.

The Berwick Group was established in 1992 and focuses on corporate advisory, M&A, investment management and private banking. Its founder John Holmes, who once worked in the industry headhunted by Gow, becomes managing director of the combined financial services practice.

Four recent appointments at Odgers Ray & Berndtson paved the way for the acquisition. Gary Johnson was hired from search firm Saffery Champness, Ingrid Gottschalk from Boyden International, Jonathan Astbury from his own search and selection business Astbury Marsden and David Barone from Marshall Warburton, where he was head of financial services. Barone moved over from investment banking to headhunting in 1996, and his focus now is global equities while also handling senior requirements within debt capital markets.

The coming together of these private niche headhunters points to the continuing need for global reach in serving the financial services industry.

Before last May's merger, Odgers was principally known for work in consumer goods, finance and information technology, while Ray & Berndtson was in the top 10 US search firms and had built up a reputation in high-technology, with a strong presence in Germany.

Odgers Ray & Berndtson, under chief executive Richard Boggis-Rolfe, has capitalised on the strengths of both while keeping the brands seperate. In spite of the merger, the two firms maintain separate websites and in the US the Odgers name is not often heard at Ray & Berndtson.