Case Study: Victoria University of Wellington

The purpose of this Case Study is to demonstrate the application management, approach and reputation supporting acumen that Tribe Leadership Executive Search provided to find a new COO for Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington.


Client Partnership and Objective:

Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington embarked on a transformative journey to appoint a new Chief Operating Officer (COO) to inspire a team of around 400 professionals to deliver core essential services with a focus on student support and success. The University sought the expertise of Tribe Leadership Executive Search, led by the accomplished David Hammond, who has over 20 years' experience in the recruitment industry, specialising in All-of-Government (AOG) Executive Searches. 

Tribe Leadership's Approach:

David Hammond and the team at Tribe Leadership Executive Search approached this significant search with a strategy tailored specifically to the university's unique aspirations and challenges. The process began with comprehensive research into the university's culture, strategic objectives, and the specific competencies required for the COO role. Leveraging their extensive network and expertise in AOG searches, the team conducted a thorough market mapping across both the public and private sectors, ensuring a wide yet focused search for the best candidates. In addition to research, headhunting and LinkedIn optimisation, Tribe Leadership Executive Search also supported the search with a targeted digital content campaign, attracting talent from across New Zealand.

Extensive competency-based interviews have enabled Tribe Leadership Executive Search to prioritise candidates who not only meet the necessary technical requirements but also align well with the cultural values embraced by both the organisation and its stakeholders.

Client Experience:

Not only is our company about excellence in searching the right candidates, but in supporting you professionally and with insight at every stage in this process.

The university's partnership with Tribe Leadership Executive Search was characterised by professionalism, insight, and a deep

 commitment to finding the right candidate. Mark Daldorf, Chief People Officer at Victoria University, praised David and the rest of the team for their responsiveness, comprehensive market mapping, and the high level of engagement throughout the search process.

"The Tribe Leadership Executive Search team, from the outset, were insightful, responsive, and very much in tune with our needs... They facilitated our complex selection process very well. Working with them was a great experience." - Mark Daldorf, CPO

Candidate Experience:

Candidate experience is of the upmost of importance to use in any hiring process. A process has to be professional because we are representing your reputation in the way we treat others.​

Ensuring a positive experience for candidates was paramount, reflecting the university's values and Tribe Leadership's approach. Candidates, including the appointed COO Tina Wakefield, highlighted the exemplary communication, thoroughness, and professionalism experienced throughout the selection process.

"The candidate experience with Tribe Leadership was very good. I was kept informed at every stage, ensuring a transparent and engaging process. Their thoroughness and clarity on the process stages were impressive." - Tina Wakefield, COO


Tribe Leadership Executive Search presented an A and B shortlist of 10 profiles, of which Victoria University took our recommendations to interview 5. The interview feedback was extremely positive, with two proceedable candidates they would have been happy to offer.

Connect With Us: For leadership search expertise that aligns with your strategic goals, reach out to David Hammond and the Executive Search team at Tribe Leadership for a confidential discussion:


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