Panoramic View: team Insight – Andre Freire

Take a closer glimpse into the team at Saxton Bampfylde and its international partners in Panorama, with our regular team insight feature.


André is Managing Partner at Saxton Bampfylde’s Brazilian Partner, Executive Performance, based in São Paulo.

Your past, present and future

I moved from engineering to financial services to the industrial environment reaching my first regional CEO chair in 2008 at age 34. I’ve been in executive search for the past five years, the last two at EXEC, as Managing Partner.

What would your advice be to someone with a free afternoon in São Paulo?

Jogging at Ibirapuera park is always a good idea to breath some fresh air in the middle of the metropolis.

True passion

Wine, car racing (although of course not together) and sports as well as spending time with family and friends.

Hot tip

Rooftops are trending in São Paulo and the Tetto Lounge is always a great option for food and drinks above the city.

Sum up the retail sector in three words

Speed, speed, speed!

What are the biggest challenges facing your clients at the moment?

The Brazilian retail market is slowly rebounding from over three years of deep recession so the need of talent to lead the effort is a major challenge. They also had to squeeze margins so managing through complexity has been a hot issue. Digital transformation is probably the third major challenge as companies are rapidly migrating their channels to digital.

What does the competitive landscape look like for retail talent?

Recent recession has put a lot of pressure on retail executives, so there is currently a good number of senior executives in transition. This is a fast market so it should not be the reality for long as signs of recovery are everywhere.

What do you consider to be the biggest changes and challenges in the last ten years in the retail market? And how have changes in consumer spending and behaviours been met by your clients?

The major change has been the digital transformation with retailers going digital and having to review their entire business proposition, including major distribution issues. Younger consumers are also looking for purpose on their purchases so retailers have had to reinvent themselves by giving the younger generation a better shopping experience.

How open minded are your clients are to appointing talent from outside the sector and region?

What demonstrates a successful placement when employing individuals that bring in a fresh perspective? Retail clients are often closed to talent from outside the sector and region in Brazil, with a few exceptions such as consumer goods.

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