Compass Associates were exclusively mandated in the search for a Managing Director of Childcare & Operations for a well-established independent nursery group.

This independent nursery group already had an ongoing relationship with Compass Associates and our partner brand Compass Executives. This was due to the successful placement of their CEO by Compass Executives and Compass Associates having placed two out of the four current Managing Directors focusing on the Southeast and Scotland within the business.

The nursery group has recently expanded due to a recent acquisition and now possesses a portfolio of 95 nursery sites across the country. The nursery group was therefore looking for an additional Managing Director to focus on a specific region. This particular role would be overseeing 35 nursery sites across the Midlands.

Having been impressed by the previous level of support provided, the CEO of the nursery group approached Compass Associates directly to mandate this role on an exclusive basis. Once a brief was obtained, Compass Associates created a talent pool list of suitable candidates. The client’s ideal candidate was a highly experienced Senior Operations Director in the Early Years sector, along with possessing a pertinent Early Years qualification at level 7. They were also looking for a candidate with extensive experience in overseeing the expansion of nursery sites, as well as demonstrating a proactive and hands-on approach to their work.

Compass Associates provided four candidates for a comprehensive five-stage interview process. This involved an informal conversation with Compass Associates, followed by an initial meeting between the CEO and the candidates. The third stage involved a face-to-face meeting with the CEO, followed by an informal follow-up meeting with Compass Associates. The final meeting then involved another face-to-face meeting with the nursery group’s Chairman.

One of the candidates was identified as the most suited for the role requirements due to previous experience and was therefore offered the role, with them accepting accordingly. The whole process from initial contact to candidate offer concluded within two and a half weeks, therefore making this an incredibly quick turnaround.


Matt Sheppard (MREC CertRP)

Senior Principal Consultant – Nursery Management