Building a finance function to set a new course for Braemar

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By Louise Chaplin. Published on 1 December 2016


Eton Bridge Partners was engaged by Braemar Shipping Services PLC (Braemar) and Finance Director, Louise Evans, who joined the business following a substantial acquisition and consequent increased scale. This case study tells the story of our engagement, building on the initial Divisional Finance Director mandate to assist Braemar by placing a professional Interim Manager to maintain business continuity ahead of identifying and onboarding a full-time Divisional Financial Controller.


Shortly after joining Braemar, Finance Director Louise Evans undertook a full scale review of the finance function within the business. Given the additional scale of the recent transaction, it was evident that the Group Finance function was looking stretched, with one individual supporting both Group and one of the larger divisions.

Louise decided to create a new role for a Divisional Finance Director with a specific blend of technical ability, strength of character, experience of people and large project management but also that all important personal approach and ‘fit’ with both team and wider business. Not a straightforward remit.

“Establishing trust was essential. I already knew Louise Chaplin at Eton Bridge Partners well and I knew that she would quickly understand me and the mandate. I also knew she would work well with me in working with the internal stakeholders to make sure they were happy with the process and the result.

Louise is incredibly good at listening to you, understanding exactly what you want and finding candidates that fit exactly. She’s also great at describing the spectrum of your requirements and, when necessary, challenging you to decide what’s really important. You need to know and trust someone really well to challenge you in that way.”
Louise Evans, Finance Director, Braemar Shipping Services PLC

Ultimately, the choice was between two exceptional candidates, with Alistair Borthwick winning through on the strength of his fit within the business.


Alistair has been in post for a year at the time of writing and has been very successful. He continues to have a strong bond with the MD and leaders of the division.

“There’s more focus on business performance and metrics. Relationships are a lot stronger and the finance function now has the profile it should in a company of this size.”
Alistair Borthwick, Divisional Finance Director, Braemar

When Alistair’s second in command left Braemar, he understood the strength of relationship with Eton Bridge – both personally as a candidate but also through the business as a client. Within a matter of days, Eton Bridge Partners had found and onboarded a highly skilled professional Interim Finance Manager to ensure business continuity and deliver the time and stability needed to identify a long term Financial Controller.

“I’ve now used Eton Bridge Partners as both a client and candidate,” says Alistair. “and both experiences have been great. As a candidate you feel you’ve really got someone working for you and a hiring manager you’re working with someone with insight who can push back and advise you.”

“I went to see some very well-known names in Executive Search and I didn’t get anything like the personal experience I got from Eton Bridge Partners.”
Alistair Borthwick, Finance Director, Braemar ACM Shipbroking

Braemar Shipping Services PLC is a leading international provider of knowledge and skill-based services to the shipping, marine, energy, offshore and insurance industries. The Group comprises three operating divisions, shipbroking, technical and logistics. These work together to offer a unique combination of skills for clients, at anytime, anywhere in the world.

“Eton Bridge Partners did things differently. They understood the need for personal fit and put a lot of effort and time into meeting the key individuals within the business and understanding the challenge.”
Louise Evans, Group Finance Director at Braemar Shipping Services PLC

Eton Bridge Partners is a leading Executive Search and Interim Management provider focusing on non-executive and executive Board level appointments and senior leadership team candidates with a core salary range of £80,000-£250,000. Headquartered in Windsor and London, UK, the business operates internationally with expertise in Board, Finance, HR and Business Transformation & Technology.