Cathy Holley

Partner, Digital and Technology Leaders Practice

Cathy is Co-Head of Savannah’s Digital and Technology Leaders practice with Vicky Maxwell Davies. Cathy was also co-creator of the Savannah/CIO Development CIO mentoring programme and speaks at the top industry events for organisations including Gartner, Deloitte, Leading Edge Forum and the Digital Transformation Club. Cathy sits on the advisory board of CIONET and was a 2017 judge for the Computer Weekly ’50 most influential people in UK IT’

My story

Having graduated with a degree in French and Italian from Royal Holloway College, London, I joined IBM as a Graduate Trainee, where I gained a good grounding in all things technology as a Systems Engineer. I then moved into sales at Oracle. In 1997, I changed career to combine my technology skills with my interest in people. I met John Ellis, who headed the technology function at Norman Broadbent, and he convinced me to become a headhunter. I later co-headed this practice with Phil Peters (now also Savannah). I then moved to the Heidrick & Struggles Digital and Technology Leaders practice in 2002, and spent a further 15 years recruiting technology leaders at Boyden, before launching Savannah with my colleagues in 2017. I have placed some of the top technology leaders in the world, including global and domestic CIOs/CDOs and their top teams, across all sectors.

Cathy helped us find a really strong, commercial CIO to be part of our Exec team. He has certainly been a good culture fit, stayed the course and delivered solutions that have underpinned our growth and success over the last few years. Cathy gave us wise counsel and the process was slick. She has gone on to help our CIO build a strong team beneath him. We would recommend her highly.

– CEO, PayPoint

My focus

As Co-Head of the Digital and Technology Leaders practice, I work across a broad variety of sectors, advising clients on how to shape a proposition that will be attractive to candidates who are now, more than ever, in huge demand. We are also known as the go-to people for advice on building teams with a good balance of gender diversity. We are able to offer decades of experience in roles as varied as CIO, CTO, s/w engineering, CISO, transformation and, of course, all things digital. All our clients are different and need different skillsets. We specialise in helping them work out the right blend of skills and the right culture fit.

I am proud to have placed some of the most successful technology leaders into companies where they have transformed not only the technology function, but also the business. Sometimes they deliver cutting-edge technology that changes the sector. That’s definitely a great feeling. I also know that the mentoring scheme that we run with CIO Development has really begun to raise the leadership quality bar in a function that has been crying out for help. We have some of the top CIOs/CDOs on the planet mentoring tomorrow’s technology leaders in a unique scheme that we created from scratch. I’m delighted to be part of it.

My motivation

Making my clients happy and chocolate make me tick!

I’m a natural networker and I love meeting clients and candidates and hearing their stories. I am always connecting the dots to ensure we are bringing the right people together. It’s really exciting when you know you’ve found the perfect candidate for a role and can see that they will make a huge difference to a company. Some assignments are fairly straightforward and others can be tough – not all our clients are household names – but the sense of satisfaction from great client feedback is huge.

Why I like working at Savannah

Over the years, we have hired search and interim professionals from many well-established, well-regarded brands. Everyone who joins tells us we have created the nicest working environment of any top search firm. We enjoy working with our clients and they can sense that the teams at Savannah enjoy working with each other; we work hard, but we also laugh a lot.

Cathy has done an excellent job in finding us such a strong shortlist of candidates to see for the CDIO post, and the support she has given us through the process has been great. I am absolutely delighted with the outcome!

– Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Where we work

Global coverage

Our global model ensures that the partner who you have the relationship with, and is best placed to deliver the best results, runs the search from start to end, with the support of local market knowledge where it’s needed.

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