“I should have been a CFO,” says Alejandro Hahn, laughing. “But sometimes life brings you a different route.”
And Alejandro’s route has been pretty spectacular by all accounts. Starting out in business at 19, he already had the makings of a globe-trotter; half-German, half-Spanish, he speaks five languages and has worked right across Europe and the Middle East. In his early career, he spent six years in telecommunications before a year’s stint at the Spanish consulate in Dusseldorf. From there, he made the switch from Finance to Sales, becoming a Sales Manager for General Electric back in Madrid.
While at General Electric he began his studies for his MBA and it was through contacts he met at the Business School that he was approached to join Granfort, one of Spain’s leading furniture companies. At the time, the financial crisis meant that the industry was heavily reliant on exporting goods, and Alejandro’s international world view and linguistic skills were in high demand. From there, his reputation was sealed: he met the MD of Natuzzi, the biggest upholstery company in the world, who told him, “I’ve seen what you’ve done for Granfort and I want that for my company.” Alejandro delivered and, three years later, he was heading for Saudi Arabia and the biggest move of his career so far – thanks to Red Diamond.
Red Diamond supported Alejandro in his initial move from Europe to Saudi and then again to London to take up his current role working for luxury cabinet makers and bespoke furniture retailers David Linley, London. He’s the kind of candidate we love to work with: a consummate professional, a relationship-builder and a creative team player. And it seems that we’ve impressed, too – after working with Alejandro as a candidate and securing his senior appointments in Riyadh and then London, he has since used our services to find candidates for Linley. “We’ve hired two candidates thanks to Red Diamond and we’re in the process of hiring a third,” he says.
“With Emma and the team, we know that the candidates we interview have been chosen incredibly carefully. She doesn’t just present you with someone who ‘sort of’ fits – I know from my own experience of being a candidate how stringent her process is. She filters them at least twice, and she prepares candidates impeccably for the interview process. Again, I know because I’ve been on both sides of the table.”
Reflecting on his move to Riyadh, Alejandro says: “It was a huge step for me personally and professionally. The Red Diamond team couldn’t have done more – they organised an initial visit where I saw the showrooms and met the people I’d be working with, visited the compound and the schools my children would attend. I knew immediately that I could trust Emma: as someone who has lived and worked in the Middle East herself, she could anticipate any worries or potential hitches in advance.”
In early 2017, Alejandro took up his position as Sales Director for Linley: “When I moved to London, Emma’s support was invaluable. Again, because she’s been there, she understands that moving countries for a job is more than just a professional concern. She gave me ideas on where we could base ourselves, price points for houses, considerations to bear in mind and help with the cultural transition. She always follows up and is always on top of everything. With Emma, nothing’s left to chance. That’s why I felt so confident asking her to help us with our talent search at Linley last year.”
So which three qualities would Alejandro choose to highlight about Red Diamond’s headhunting offering? “Emma really understands the sense of urgency that often accompanies the search for a senior executive. She’s reactive in the most positive way and I always have the sense of her going above and beyond for our business.”
“Secondly, she puts herself in our shoes. She knows how valuable time is – both ours and hers – and therefore when you meet a candidate or start a process, you won’t find your time wasted.”
And thirdly? Without a flicker of hesitation, Alejandro answers: “Bespoke. Red Diamond don’t have a format that they apply to everyone else. You’re not required to adapt to their formula – instead, they adapt to you.”
To be called ‘bespoke’ by a man with an eye for exquisite, hand-crafted furniture makes us extremely happy – we’ll take that!
At Red Diamond, we’re fascinated by the synergy between the right client and candidate. In fact, we won’t rest until we’ve secured the talent to take your organisation to the next level. Ready to make some changes or additions to your Senior Management team? Get in touch!