Sue O’Brien OBE
With over 30 years’ experience working with boards, serving as an executive and non executive, Sue advises CEOs on the pressure points of people risk and talent innovation. As a key relationship builder, her network of clients spans the boardrooms of the UK and a global network of candidates and clients. Understanding the complexity and challenge of navigating CEO change is her key skill.
After an early commercial career in retail and the leisure industry she led a reverse IPO as Chief Executive Officer of a listed search firm which she grew for seven years. Joining Ridgeway in 2015, she has led the partner team in both an MBO and subsequent sale to global CEO advisory firm, Teneo, in 2020.
In addition to her Executive Chair role at Ridgeway, Sue is non executive director of The Pipeline, was a founder member of The Women’s Business Council and is a trustee and Chair of the Nominations Committee for KidsOut children’s charity. Sue also serves as a member of the global talent advisory business in Teneo.
In January 2014, she was awarded an OBE for services to business and charity, and for promoting equality in the workplace.
What is the most important challenge facing clients?
Being a CEO, particularly a new one, is hard at any time. Post pandemic, that challenge is accentuated. Getting the right advice, support and service to aid a people plan that underpins your business strategy is where we come in. Irrespective of where the talent comes from, either inside or external to a client’s business, getting the best people around a CEO that will work as a team is what we do. It is a lonely job being a CEO and listening and then giving advice without agenda is a privilege we cherish.
How have clients’ expectations changed?
We have seen a huge increase in the pace of search. The time taken from thorough briefing to hire has been reduced thanks to an acceptance of technology through the pandemic. Our clients are mindful that pace should not drive appointments, these are significant investments that take time and reflection for both candidates and clients. We have to facilitate the right pace of decision making with the pace of assessment and referencing to ensure a smooth and successful process.
Ridgeway is a Teneo company.
Teneo is the global CEO advisory firm. To learn more, visit: