Hays Executive Search team

Hays Executive Search
Meet the team

Jon Ashcroft

Jon is the practice head in MENA for Hays Executive - the headhunting arm of Hays plc, specialising in executive search and selection that addresses the need for inspirational leadership. With over 20 years in the recruitment industry he has gained vast experience across a broad range of sectors. Jon joined Hays in 1997 and prior to relocating to Dubai in 2008, he managed 3 offices in the West Yorkshire region of the UK.

Throughout his work life Jon has always remained a hands-on recruiter. Being a fee earner has always remained his first passion and delivering excellence to clients and mentoring other recruiters in best practice have been key elements to his career. Jon’s desire to deliver has led him to great success including lead fee earner in the UK out of a region of 188 consultants. Again in the Middle East, Jon consistently proved himself as the stand-out fee earner (since 2010), which has been achieved through his drive, passion and expertise. Jon has recruited for both senior interim and permanent positions, filling over 800 positions throughout his career. He has successfully worked with a wide range of clients including MNC’s, such as GE and Louis Vuitton, new start-ups and SME clients, large diverse privately owned groups, semi-government owned entities, and private equity firms.

Jon’s area of expertise is in the recruitment of C-level positions that are often niche and difficult to fill appointments. He focuses on C-Suite positions within Commerce, Consumer, Hospitality, Industrial, Manufacturing, Engineering, and Construction sectors. His success rate for retained searches is well above 90%, which is exceptionally high at this level within the industry. He has developed and uses a structured search methodology that has delivered client success again and again.


Mark Holdich

Mark spearheads financial services executive-level search campaigns across the MENA region, using his deep expertise to source talented senior management that can make a real difference. Commencing his career with Hays in New Zealand in 2005, Mark has built an incredible track record of success across various regions in Asia, Australasia and the Middle East.

Following two successful years as top fee earner in the New Zealand market, Mark relocated to Asia in 2007 joining the newly opened Hays International office in Hong Kong, with a key focus to build Hays Hong Kong’s first Executive Search offering. He completed a wide range of assignments across multiple industries and sectors.

Previously, Mark was with another international Executive Search firm, where he served clients across finance, commodities, energy and healthcare in Hong Kong. During this time, he has led successful search campaigns for 1st and 2nd tier banks, funds, MNC’s and corporates. Mark now has more than 6 years of executive search experience across MENA with an extensive network and in-depth knowledge across financial services and corporates. Primarily focussed on Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait, Mark has an enviable track record placing industry leaders and influencers into key positions in these geographies.


John Billal

John is a Senior Business Manager within the Hays Executive practice covering senior level mandates across a variety of industries within the MENA region. With 12+ years executive search experience, an MSc in Occupational Psychology and a wealth of experience in the Middle East market, John has a strong track record for developing bespoke executive search solutions both regionally and internationally. John has particularly enjoyed success in the areas of Marine, Logistics, Education, Life Sciences, Aviation & Aerospace, Defense, and Government.

Moving to Dubai in 2007, after a successful period focussed on financial services recruitment in the City of London, John quickly developed a strong track record for delivering best in practice senior head recruitment solutions for some of the region’s most prestigious clients. Having later collaborated with some of the largest diversified family and semi-government organisations in the regions John’s functional coverage has become more varied over the years and he has successfully completed search assignments across various roles including CEO, COO, CFO, GM, and Sales & Marketing Director.


Ketki Acharya

Ketki is an Executive Researcher, finding top calibre, senior talent across various industries for clients in the Middle East. Having previously worked for another international recruitment firm, working on legal and strategy appointments, she has developed an expertise in research. Her key strengths include market mapping and presenting reports. Ketki also holds a dual degree in Business Administration and Psychology from the State University of New York. She has a strong understanding of the region, having been born and raised in the UAE. A sharp and dynamic individual, with a go-getter attitude, whose proactive approach enables her to source tier 1 candidates for the client.


Cameron Burnell

Cameron is an Executive Researcher, specialising in searching and finding top calibre, senior management and C-level professionals across various industries within the Middle East. He is a sharp and pro-active individual who is able to conduct excellent analytical work in order to discover top tier talent for our clients.

Having grown up in the UAE and previously worked for a local recruitment agency, Cameron has in-depth knowledge of the region and the headhunting market. This is supported by his educational background, holding a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Middlesex University.


Divij Duggal

Divij specialises in sourcing top calibre, C-level professionals for clients within the investment sector. He partners closely with investment banks, private equity firms, and SWFs, identifying talent based on their business needs. Divij holds a degree in Finance from Macquarie University in Australia and his previous experiences in this industry have equipped him with an excellent analytical ability, as well as strong interpersonal skills. Divij is a passionate, ambitious, and insightful individual who uses his sector-specific knowledge to give his clients the edge over the competition.

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