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Turmoil forces cuts at search firm

It now only has two consultants, Ben Worsley and Charlie Craig, who was taken on earlier this summer.

The entire research team in London has left, including head of research Johnny Yorke, who went a few weeks ago.

Late last week Charlotte Findlay and Serena Vento, both researchers, and Victoria Manford, a consultant, were also made redundant. Hans Middleton, another consultant, left earlier this year to do an MBA and Sarah Haywood, also a consultant, left recently for personal reasons.

‘What is really tragic for us is that at the start of the year we had finally assembled a first-class team,’ says Rupert Fordham, one of the two brothers who founded Morgan Hunt. ‘Unfortunately, the turmoil in the markets has hit our revenues in London and like anyone in these markets we have to look at our costs very hard.

‘The people we have had to let go are very good people and I am very sorry to lose them,’ he adds.

Fordham co-founded the search firm after a seven-year career as an emerging markets bond trader at JP Morgan and West Merchant Bank, both of which have been big clients.

While the brothers have talked in the past about diversification, their firm’s success has come almost entirely from its single-minded focus on Russia and eastern Europe.

One client said: ‘They were very good in their market and were especially good at identifying the people who wanted to move as well. They did try and branch out a bit but we have suppliers who have been supplying us for ages and it was very difficult for them.’

Both Rupert and Stephen Fordham are putting a brave face on recent events. They have always had a strong business in Moscow itself, working for Russian corporates and private equity providers.

‘We are actually still doing business in Russia working for Russian corporates. We have five searches going on at the moment in Russia and the Ukraine,’ says Stephen Fordham.

‘We have not let anyone go in Moscow and we are certainly not going to,’ says Rupert.

They admit, however, that they are looking to see how to develop the business in new areas.

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