Astbury sets up new headhunting conglomerate

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Astbury joined Odgers a year ago to help build their finance, administration and operations division, after selling out of Astbury Marsden, the search and selection firm he co-founded in 1996.

The starting point for the new conglomerate, which is backed by HSBC, is a small firm called Jones Christopher, in which Astbury acquired a 50% stake earlier this week. Jones Christopher has eight consultants and concentrates on commerce and consumer goods clients.

Astbury intends to make further acquisitions or joint-venture arrangements, in London, Frankfurt, New York and Tokyo and the new conglomerate will focus on investment banking, legal, commercial and HR appointments.

Astbury said he has already made job offers to 20 headhunters in investment banking, asset management, equity research and fixed income and he intends to hire another 30 people.

He said: &quotThe search market is weak at the moment so I and my backers think this is a good opportunity to buy market share,&quot He added that acquisitions would be rebranded in October and the aim is to create a boutique for future trade or sale.

Both Astbury and Roddy Gow, chairman of the financial services practice at Odgers Ray & Berndtson, stressed that their parting was amicable.

&quotJonathan is an entrepreneur. We were very lucky to have had him for a period of time when we were restructuring and expanding,&quot said Gow.

In the past year Odgers has made two substantial acquisitions, first Ray & Berndtson and then Berwick Group earlier this year.

At Odgers Astbury's shoes will be filled by Henry Behforooz, recruited from Korn/Ferry Futurestep to continue building the middle office, operations and financial management division at Odgers.