Gordon is an Edinburgh law graduate and a KPMG-trained Scottish CA. He qualified in 1978, having won First Prize in the Final CA exams.
He has fifteen years’ experience and an exceptional track record in executive search. Assisted by his CA training and his senior management experience, he works across sectors and functions. In the last five years, he has added Executive Development and Business Advisory work to his practice.
In addition to his consulting work, Gordon is Non-Executive Chairman of a £15m fresh produce wholesaler, and a Board Advisor to Carbon Financial Partners, one of the UK’s leading financial planning frms. He is also regularly asked to speak to executives and entrepreneurs on building top teams and companies.
Prior to executive search, Gordon had a twenty year career in senior management. From KPMG, he joined House of Fraser plc, where he reported to the Chairman and Group Finance Director during the corporate battle with Tiny Rowland’s Lonrho.
At the age of 28, he was appointed as Group Finance Director of the £100m Laidlaw Group plc, seven years later becoming its Managing Director. Following Laidlaw’s takeover by the £300m Manchester-based Quicks Group plc, he became Quicks’ Group Strategy Director.
He returned to Scotland in 1994, as Head of Corporate Development with Cairn Energy PLC, later becoming its Chief Financial Officer. After co-ordinating their takeovers, he was also Interim MD of Cairn’s subsidiaries in Australia and The Netherlands.
Gordon is a former trustee of four charities and is currently a trustee of Bedrock, which focuses on “The Early Years”. A passionate believer in the power of education, he is a mentor to Edinburgh Napier University students, and a supporter of their Confident Futures Programme. In 2012, he was Business Advisor to Balerno High School in the Young Enterprise Scotland competition, coaching their MD into first place from a field of 35 teams.
A keen golfer, Gordon captained Scotland at Boys’, Youths’ and Universities’ levels.
““I have known Gordon Cairns for over thirty years and would unhesitatingly vouch for his honesty, integrity, passion and compassion. He is an outstanding individual with real insight into people.”
Sir Bill GammellChief Executive, Cairn Energy
“Many search consultants merely talk about understanding their client’s organisation and culture. But Gordon Cairns genuinely does. He sees a long-term business relationship with his clients as much more important than a single assignment and I value and respect his advice, particularly as he has real senior commercial experience prior to entering recruitment.”
John BrodieChief Executive, Scotmid