Gordon Whyte has been a member of BIE’s executive leadership team since 2011 and played a vital role in the company’s growth. In April 2022, Gordon stepped into the role of CEO, taking on the responsibility for growth and culture at BIE. We sat down with Gordon to discuss his role, his vision for the company and what makes him tick as a person.

What are your reflections on your new role and the current business landscape?

It’s been an incredible first year, I’m loving the challenge. I am continually uplifted by our clients and our own team’s ability to deliver. Resilience, and the ability to adapt and work at pace, seems core to operating in a post-pandemic world. BIE is a restless place in our desire to continually improve. I feel that we are in a great place to deal with whatever comes our way. 

I made the move to CEO after leading one of BIE’s functional practices; a role that encompasses the joys and pressures of day-to-day client and candidate contact. As with most people from an executive recruitment background, my motivations have been and will remain built on relationships. I will continue to work directly with and build my personal network. 

As CEO, I am learning how the varying priorities come together across the whole business. This has been an amazing experience to see how we can build out the interdependencies of our teams and services. For me, alongside our COO, providing excellent support services, enabling our client-facing teams to continue delivering at the pace and quality they are known for is key. Continuing to create an environment of trust where we have an engaged and motivated team to work together is critical to our success.

What have you learned so far?

The need to take more time and pace myself. However, let’s say this remains a work-in-progress!  One core value I share with BIE is being driven. We have a client base and a team that enjoys working at pace. Maintaining this, while also making sure we remain supportive of each other, is vital. Wellbeing is of great importance, and understanding and taking action to support our needs is part of ensuring that we are balanced, happy and productive. 

What does the near future look like for BIE?

I’m fortunate to have been part of a cohesive leadership team who have worked over the last five years to build a highly collaborative, driven and supportive working environment. We are nothing without BIE’s collaborative and quality team, and our shared vision for the future is to continue building on its strengths. Growing in an inclusive way, recognising difference and diversity of thought, while maintaining our unique culture, is very important to me.

I’m proud of what the BIE team has delivered over the last five years and I’m excited to help it evolve even further. Alongside seeking new talent, the focus of the team will be exploring how we can help create careers and support the development of the next generation of BIE leaders.

We will continue to invest in our core functions across HR, Technology, Finance and Supply Chain. Our aim is for more of our clients to use a higher number of our service lines across retained search and our change and transformation offerings.

Ultimately, I want to see us delivering on the challenges our clients set us, and those we set for ourselves.

Do you foresee any challenges coming your way?

One significant challenge I see is how we maintain consistent growth without losing our cultural strengths. To tackle this, I intend to keep hiring the best talent for ourselves and our clients.

Similarly, remaining resilient in such a fast-changing, challenging world and business environment is understandably tough. The leadership team here has worked through a variety of economic conditions, and we’re in a great place to deal with any future challenges that we may face.

How would you inspire your leaders and employees to fulfil that vision?

To be true to ourselves and be honest. To set clear and achievable but ambitious goals and work hard to deliver them. We should celebrate difference, respect each other, and congratulate ourselves on our successes while not burning ourselves out.

Where is BIE on its inclusivity journey?

Diversity and inclusion is very important to me. As a gay man, I feel strongly that difference is strength. We still have work to do to change the visible signs of having a diverse team. However, I am confident that by hiring people from non-visible diverse backgrounds, we are developing an inclusive work environment. I am a firm believer in generational change. We can’t change ingrained cultural prejudices overnight, but we can change our language and educate ourselves. 

How would you describe your leadership style?

Personally, I’m driven and determined to do my best, and I hope I lead by example in that regard. Ultimately though, I don’t think there’s a one-size-fit-all leadership approach. I try to adapt my leadership to my team and their needs.

What are you most passionate about at work?

Making sure that the whole team is happy.

Learn more about the BIE team here.

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