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Lockford, led by Philip O’Connell, is a search and recruitment practice oriented towards both the client and the candidate.

The practice provides search and recruitment services for finance professionals working within the media, technology and marketing services industries in London and Manchester and works across most levels of the financial discipline placing:

  • Chief Financial Officers

  • Finance Directors

  • Heads of Finance

  • Financial Controllers

  • Finance Managers


Big Four trained, I completed over 13 years working in finance and more than 7 of these as a Finance Director and CFO in media businesses. Since leaving my last CFO position I have worked for several years in recruitment and search.


While working in finance I have helped to grow businesses, improve profitability, restructure departments, refine commercial offerings and bring companies out of administration. Since working in search I have built an enviable reputation successfully completing assignments across a variety of sectors, but with a particular focus on the marketing services, media and technology sectors.

I understand more than just these industries; I understand the finance discipline. I have used this experience to suggest a diverse selection of excellent candidates to deliver on assignments for private and public businesses, from start-ups through non-profit organisations, to FTSE 100 companies.





I have worked successfully as a CFO and Finance Director and therefore understand the complexities of finance roles and can apply this directly in each and every search. Subsequently I have achieved an impressive record in delivering on search assignments across across financial positions from Financial Analysts to Chief Financial Officers in a range of sectors within commerce and industry.

Unconstrained by set processes and targets, your search will be performed only by the individual you meet, not part completed by junior staff. Therefore the service you receive is of a consistent and high quality. You will benefit from a tailored approach to your business, working preferences and the particular role. This will be outlined at the start and will be structured so as to ensure that you receive the most effective search service possible.

Lockford has a genuine interest in your business and also in the careers of its candidates. The search approach ensures that you will always be presented with engaged and enthusiastic candidates who understand the role, the focus of the business, the challenge and how it fits into their own current experience and development. What’s more, the first-hand experience of working as a senior finance professional allows an understanding of the substance of the financial role and the required skill-set; this ensures that you receive a breadth of candidates and a real choice, rather than simply several identikit profiles.


Advice, guidance & support

I have been a candidate like you, I know the important part a search firm can play in assisting you in your career development - not only offering good roles, but also good advice. This can cover assisting you in your search, modifying your CV or just working through your options.

I have helped people move between industry sectors and opened clients’ eyes to the substance behind a CV. I believe that a very important part of my role is to offer career guidance and to enable you to achieve your career aspirations.

I have a strong network of clients across a variety of industry sectors and my priority is always to help you make the right decision for your career.

If you would like to get in touch please call, or alternatively send through your CV and I will get back to you.



Frame your experience in the most effective manner

CVs remain an integral part of selection and assessment and 99%* of all recruitment processes still use them as a primary source of information before considering interview. It is therefore essential that you express your experience in the most effective manner. I am forever surprised by the number of individuals who present a much more engaging profile in person than that which is articulated within their CV. However, many recruiters and companies do not afford individuals the chance to demonstrate their true nature in a face to face meeting without first reviewing this document. Therefore If your CV does not present your abilities and experience effectively, there is every chance that you will unfairly fall at the very first selection hurdle.

Whereas other services out there provide a generic offering for all disciplines, I only work with finance professionals as that is the area in which I have worked and now recruit. I therefore offer a service that really comprehends your background and markets you in the most effective way. In every process we start with a blank sheet of paper and work towards the best approach to demonstrate your skills and experience, and very importantly, meet your work aspirations. 


Talk through your experience with confidence

Interviews are the cornerstone of the assessment process. Be they structured, semi-structured or conversational, potential employers use them as the key metric for assessing ability, fit and potential. In spite of the increasing use of psychometric data, the face to face social assessment continues to lead decision-making and has even been found to influence the sense-making and interpretation of test results**. It is therefore crucial to communicate your strengths and experience as effectively as possible. I have interviewed hundreds of senior finance professionals and know what works and how to best communicate your relevant abilities. I work with professionals who are looking to improve, brush up on their technique, meet a specific case study challenge, or simply want to practice ahead of an important interview. It can really make that small difference between you and the others on the shortlist.


Please get in touch if you would like to discuss how I may be able to help you improve your chances of success in the recruitment process.

*Diekmann, J., Konig, C. 'Testing in Personnel Selection' (2015) in I. Nikolaou & J. Oostrom (eds) Employee Recruitment, Selection, and Assessment: contemporary issues for theory and practice. London: Psychology Press. pp. 117-135.

**Bolander, P., & Sandberg, J. (2013). How Employee Selection Decisions are Made in Practice. Organization Studies, 34(3), 285–311.




I retained the services of Lockford Executive Search in the recruitment of a new Financial Controller and worked with Phil throughout the process. Phil listened carefully to the brief and was able to swiftly and professionally offer an impressive shortlist of candidates who fitted the brief perfectly in terms of skill-set, experience and cultural fit.


Phil was highly professional, very personable and a pleasure to work with throughout the recruitment process. I would have no hesitation in working with him again and would highly recommend Lockford.

Chris Diemer, Managing Director, Retail