I was living in Paris when I learned to meditate by accident. My life changed rapidly. Six months later I was an executive search consultant (or ‘headhunter’) in the London office of Heidrick & Struggles, working with the late Dr John Viney.
John ran the Board Practice, recruiting chairmen, chief executives and non-executive directors. He asked me to set up and run the CFO Practice, recruiting finance directors for many of the same companies. I recruited at board level for companies ranging from early-stage to the FTSE-100 or equivalent.
John wrote books, which I helped to edit. We also began to invest in early-stage companies together. I was promoted to partner. A year later I left the firm and co-founded Purkiss&Company.
Having met many candidates who were trying to market themselves to executive search firms, my colleague Barbara Edlmair and I wrote How to be Headhunted, which was published in 2005. Later that year my father died. He had been a semi-professional photographer before I was born. Robert Coggins and I wrote Ken Purkiss – 50 Photos in his memory.
David Royston-Lee and I then wrote another book which anyone can use to market themselves. Brand You is published by Pearson and is available in five languages. It has led to many other opportunities, including speaking engagements in several countries.
I continue to make occasional investments in high-growth companies. Where appropriate, we re-invest some of each executive search fee in the client company. We look for companies where we can add significant value by recruiting a chief executive, finance director or other board member.
The new book will be called The Power of Letting Go.
John studied economics at Cambridge University and has an MBA from INSEAD, where he was awarded the Henry Ford II Prize. He began his career in banking and management consultancy, and has invested in several high-growth companies. John was a partner with Heidrick & Struggles prior to co-founding Purkiss&Company, where he recruits chief executives, finance directors and other board members. He has lived and worked in France, Belgium and the USA. John speaks French, German and Spanish.