2023 – A Year in Review

Reliable Leadership Advice™, whatever conditions our clients face

Last year, MU demonstrated our strength and sustained development despite continued financial turbulence and uncertainty in the world. In 2023, we continued to enhance our organisation and rolled out enhanced client offerings, guaranteeing clients access to the leadership development they need.

The MU Research Institute strengthened our Client Services Based on MU Leader Selection Science®

The work to develop our services, as well as validation and success-rate follow up, is run by the independent MU Research Institute (MU RI). MU RI – together with the certified MU Experts – is the substance behind every promise we make to clients. In 2023, our client offerings based on the MU way of working, MU Leader Selection Science®, were further developed with the launch of the updated method for tailoring of services, the MU Predictive Analysis Method™.

The MU Predictive Analysis Method™, based on the latest scientific developments in our field, assures that MU Experts and all clients benefit from highly effective services in both leader acquisition and advisory. This enhancement underlines our continuous development of MU Services, Methods, and Tools based on tested and proven solutions to clients’ needs for effective leaders.

Advancing Our Strategy for Reliable Leadership Advice™

2023 was a solid operational year and another year in which we further fortified our foundation for the future.

MU Experts worldwide continued to increase the value and so fee level of our work with clients, and clients responded with their highest-ever rating of satisfaction in our service, increasing from 89% to 91%.

In our focus segment – leadership recruitment and advisory services – the MU team increased market share, increased client value and increased client satisfaction – all in demanding economic conditions for our industry sector.

Strong Operational and Strategic Progress With Strong Outlook – Market Driven Mixed Results by Service Line

2023 proved to be a year of instability in the world leading to a reduced volume of permanent placements across most industries and geographies. For MU revenues by service line were mixed, with a very strong performance in leadership level work, Executive Search and Advisory services, and large drops on lower value and lower fee recruitment work. Overall average fee levels increased, and we enlarged our MU Consultant headcount. Whilst this development, the high-value work and increased team size, are in line with our strategy the reduction in net sales of 11% resulted in a combined EBITDA margin of 7%. We delivered a net margin after tax of 4%, which means solid dividends for our equity partners.

For 2024, we expect stable client fees and margin. Ongoing actions will reduce the consultant cost percentage and reduce our administration costs using a “lean office” approach. We also expect to see efficiency improvements as a result of the new regional
structure implemented as end of 2023. Our overall goals remain, as conditions allow, to have industry-leading growth and cost-base flexibility supported by highly professional and lean support functions. The efficiency enhancement measures coupled with the many operational and strategic achievements presented elsewhere in this report provide a very solid platform for outstanding performance in the years ahead.

The coming year

In the coming year, we will continue the development of the MU organisation and our client capabilities. Our strategy allows us to carefully and selectively welcome exceptional new talent to our team whilst continuously upgrading MU’s services, methods, and tools. In 2024 we will launch the enhanced MU Executive Search™ service for inclusive Leader Acquisition – ensuring the most effective and diverse leadership for our clients. With unrivalled accuracy in selection and inclusive recruitment, our clients will continue to outperform in all conditions.

Our relentless focus on client’s needs, exceptional MU Experts and world-class services, methods and tools form the base for the continued increasing strength of MU.

Key focus areas for management in 2024

This year we will continue to focus on advancing our strategy to provide clients with Reliable Leadership Advice™:

  • Continued strengthening of our presence in key markets, industry practices, and global reach through careful and selective hiring of senior consultants and senior delivery experts
  • Launch of enhancements to our already industryleading MU Executive Search™ service
  • Further upgrading of our class-leading sciencebased services, including research and validation studies into Executive Search and Leadership Advisory and development and newly enhanced Leadership Team and Organisational Analysis services
  • Further advancing our industry-leading quality assurance and certification regime for MU experts
  • Focus on the scientific basis for predicting leader success, and inclusion and diversity
  • Continued financial vigilance.
Read the full Year in Review Report here