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Annual Report 2022 / 3

Excellence and Impact

Oxford HR is a Global Leadership Consultancy, purely focused on the purpose-led sector.

Driven by a passion for positive change, we search for and support the exceptional leaders that can make that happen. An organisation’s potential for impact depends on the effectiveness of its leaders, its culture and the way people work together.

Oxford HR helps organisations get these right.

Our consultants all come from the purpose-led sector, leading to an impressive breadth and depth of experience and a true understanding of the leadership qualities our clients, and the sector, need for advancement.

Intro from Group CEO, David Lale

Reflecting back on our last two annual reports, I seem to always comment on how much the organisation has changed and grown, and the year of 2022/23 has certainly been no different. As we have seen the world return to something akin to what it used to be, Oxford HR has evolved and adapted, working globally to support our clients in the more holistic way we have been aiming to for a number of years.

2022/23 was the year we truly transformed into a leadership consultancy, investing in a new website (created by our sister design agency OXygen) and updating all of our communications to reflect this truly exciting evolution for us as an organisation. Our Leadership & Change service is growing rapidly and offering that next-level support to our clients we always hoped it would do; our Singapore office is well established now and there are many exciting endeavours coming out of there, including a detailed report on Leadership Challenges within the AsiaPac region which will be revealed later this year; our Europe and Africa offices continue to thrive and we hope to open hubs in Brussels and Geneva in the next financial year and finally (for me), we are hiring an MD for the Americas and opening an office in Washington, later this year.

But amidst all this growth there are always challenges – working truly globally across multiple time zones for teams can be exhausting and we have had to be mindful of balance for our employees; ensuring diversity truly is at the heart of what we do and appreciating that this is never a perfect or finished part of our work, is something we continually work on. Our search for an EDI Lead in this area to support our internal team continues into this financial year – an appointment we are all very excited about, both for our internal progression, and also in continuing to support our clients with their goals in this area.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read our annual report. One of my main reflections on the past year is how lucky we are as an organisation to have such a strong team. We have learnt in the past year to lean on each other’s knowledge and strengths much more and utilising our intranet, we now, for example, have monthly Academy sessions to share insights. One of our biggest USP’s as an organisation is the background of all of our team members and how they work together to deliver rounded support to our clients, and I am forever grateful to be a part of and lead that team into every new year and all the opportunities that may bring.

David Lale

Global Highlights

Leadership Consultancy

In March 2023 we were excited to launch an updated Oxford HR brand; incorporating all of our service areas and sector specialisms under the roof of ‘Leadership Consultancy’, including a refreshed visual identity and website. The updated messaging reflects the holistic suite of services we offer to our clients, including:

  • Executive Search
  • Leadership & Change
  • Board & Advisory
  • Interim Search
  • HR Consultancy
  • Design & Communications

These services sit across our sector specialisms; global practice areas in which we have advanced knowledge:

  • Environment, Climate, Conservation & Sustainability
  • Trade & Economic Development
  • Livelihoods & Agriculture
  • Human Rights & Equality
  • Data, Technology & Research
  • Disaster & Humanitarian
  • Education
  • Health


2022 saw the conclusion of Oxford HR’s biggest project to date; the search for 92 roles for the African CDC. With funding from the MasterCard Foundation, the African CDC would implement the Saving Lives and Livelihoods Program (SLL). The project was designed to strengthen Africa’s public health institutional capabilities to detect and respond quickly to disease outbreaks, through an integrated network of continent-wide preparedness and response. Oxford HR led the recruitment effort across all AU countries in three phases to staff the SLL project.

Opening of our Singapore Office

With the appointment of Nick Sutcliffe as our Managing Director, AsiaPac, we were delighted to launch Oxford HR Asia in 2022 – which has been a long term ambition of ours. A team of four now works in our Singapore office, working closely with our clients on their needs in the region, supported by a team of 5 Associates.

Innovative Placements

This year we saw an increased interest from our clients in co-leadership and other flexible working arrangements. We were proud to lead the search and appointment of Greenpeace UK’s co- Executive Directors, in addition to the appointment of one of Mama Cash’s co-Executive Directors, and the current search for two co-directors of programmes. We’re delighted to see our sector making these moves to allow for more agile and innovative leadership.


Escape 100

We were delighted to be featured on the ‘Escape 100’ shortlist; being acknowledged as one of the best organisations to escape to in 2022. Organisations are judged on metrics such as impact, planet, mission, people, innovation and B-Corp, and we were delighted to achieve a score of 115.9, with a 9.3 employee rating. The Escape 100 list represents organisations that are leading the way in putting their people and their planet on par with profit, and we couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it.

Challenges Faced

Cost of living crisis

With the UK facing the highest rate of inflation in 40 years and businesses facing increased energy costs, many organisations are having to take the wider economy into account in their day-to-day operations. Oxford HR is no different and we are looking at ways at how we can best support our staff financially and mentally during a difficult time.

Shifting our internal structure

As a growing organisation we have made some internal changes to reflect our new global structure, including a move to operate from regional hubs. As a result, our Nairobi office is now the centre point for our operations across the Africa region, whilst Singapore will manage our work on the Asian continent. This has meant increased marketing support to local regions and a shift in our ways of working, meaning we can continue to deliver an exemplary service to our clients. With a growing team across multiple time zones, a big focus for the coming year will be on how we best communicate internally, from support services to all-team meetings.

Diversity, Sustainability and Inclusion


We have started working with external consultancy, Twelve Futures, on the project management of our BCorp application. This has proved invaluable as we streamline processes, calculate our impact and identify ways in which we can improve as a business. We’re particularly excited about BCorp because we feel it’s a certification that cements the internal values we have held for so long; a world that puts purpose before profit.

With a working group in place, we are hoping to finalise the process and submit our application in the next couple of months, with a view to being BCorp certified before the end of the year.

Head of EDI

Our search for a new internal role – Head of EDI – is underway. This role will work closely with our HR team on our internal approach to EDI, in addition to our Leadership & Change team, looking at how to further embed EDI in our existing catalogue of products. We’re excited for this key appointment and how this role will help shape our service offerings and how we work with our clients.

Environmental Impact

We have now planted a total of 4,338 trees through our partnership with JUST ONE Tree. We plant trees as a congratulatory gift for our appointed candidates, in addition to committing to a monthly planting of 25 trees. We’re proud to support JUST ONE Tree and the work they are doing in the climate space and protecting biodiversity.

The majority of our have been planted in the Ankilahila Plot, a mangrove plot, spanning between the edge of a dry deciduous forest and the river. It helps expand wildlife habitat for species such as Lemurs, crocodiles and a variety of birds among others. You can read about this project here.

The plot has strong socio-economic benefits of providing sustainable incomes and agricultural education, helping improve livelihoods in the local communities. Benefits include being able to diversify incomes, pay for education for their children and medical care and improvements to their homes.

Feedback from our candidates on JUST ONE Tree

Ambitions for the future

Washington office 2023/24

With our local presence firmly in place in Europe, AsiaPac and Africa, we are setting our sights on the launch of our Americas office in Washington towards the end of 2023, to support our clients in the US, Canada and Central and Latin America. We already have a strong client base in the region, working closely with organisations such as African Wildlife Foundation, Conflict Dynamics International, Connexi, RIWI, Oxfam Cananda, Feed the Children Canada and CARE Canada.

We are currently in the process of searching for our Managing Director for the region and will work towards building a team there in the coming months. Please get in touch if you or someone you know is interested in joining our Americas team.

Impact Report

In conjunction with our BCorp application, we are in the process of measuring our impact as an organisation. This will culminate in our first impact report in our 28-year history, which we are hoping to publish in September. Working with BCorp specialists, Twelve Futures, we are making good progress towards submitting our application, and we are excited about the internal changes we are making in order to make ourselves a better business.

Our impact report will focus on how we help purpose-led organisations achieve their missions, across the breadth of the Sustainable Development Goals. We’re working closely with our clients to map where we are creating impact for them and gathering feedback on how we can best serve the sector. We’re also especially proud of our focus on leaders from under-represented groups, which we will also illustrate in the report.

Taking the Knowledge Festival to new locations

Taking the Knowledge Festival to new locations

Following the success of our Knowledge Festival Live in Amsterdam, we are looking forward to taking the format to new partners in new locations, in particular, to our offices in Singapore and Nairobi. The Knowledge Festivals are a unique opportunity to discuss insights and knowledge with other professionals in the purpose-led space, expand your networks and understand better the current challenges facing us as a sector. You can watch our previous virtual sessions here.

Increased European presence

Our Europe team is expanding; with plans to increase our presence in Brussels and Geneva. Having a local presence in these cities will allow us to further expand our networks in these regions and provide more local knowledge to our growing portfolio of clients there. We also plan to diversify our ability to offer services in French, Dutch and German.

AsiaPac NGO Challenges 2023

Following the success of our study last year on ‘Understanding For-Purpose Leadership Challenges’, we are excited to be carrying out a new piece of research in the AsiaPac region, looking to understand the challenges currently facing NGOs. We hope this research will help our clients and partners to gain a greater understanding of these challenges and use a peer-learning approach to identify potential solutions. Please make sure you are subscribed to our mailing list for updates on the publication date.


Knowledge Festival Live

In November we held our first-ever Knowledge Festival Live, in partnership with the THNK School of Creative Leadership, at their offices in Amsterdam. The event was focused on our research into leadership challenges in purpose-led organisations, followed by an interactive session on co-leadership and organisational change. We hope it’s the first of many live Oxford HR events, delving into topics in our sector.


We exhibited at the SANKALP Africa Summit in March, the largest convening of social enterprise on the continent. During two sunny days at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies, we met with many inspiring organisations creating positive change in the region and were grateful to attend informative sessions on topics such as impact investing, female-founded enterprises, ESG, GMO and much more.

UCL Career Insight

Two of our Africa team members, Suzie Li and Neil Matabane-Berry, ran a virtual careers insight session for students at UCL on the international development sector. The event was well attended, and we received excellent feedback on our overview of the sector, challenges, skills and application tips.

Our clients in 2022 by sector


Environment, Climate, Conservation (SDG 7, 12, 13, 14, 15)


Health (SDG 2, 3)


Disaster & Humanitarian (SDG 6, 16)


Livelihoods & Agriculture (SDG 8, 9, 12)


Education (SDG 4, 7)


Trade & Economic Development (SDG 8, 9, 12)


Data, Technology & Research


Human Rights & Equality (SDG 5, 10)

of our placed leaders are from non-EU/UK/US/CAN/AUS/NZ

2022 in numbers


Candidates registered


Candidates placed


assignments completed


Clients Worked With

of our placed candidates over the past 3 years were women

Our placed candidates were truly global, representing 19 nationalities collectively


Increase in Twitter followers

Increase in LinkedIn Followers


Increase in LinkedIn Impressions

Increase in Web Users

Our Global Team


Staff Members




International Offices

of our team are women


Nationalities in the team


Languages spoken in the team


Countries spread across