CFO, Finance


Online4Baby is an Oldham-based e-commerce business, which provides baby-related home products to the B2C market.

It is a family business, led by CEO Christie Foster, her sister, and their husbands.

The business was doing very well, with c£40m T/O for 2020. However, Christie approached Rowan to help her appoint a CFO who could:

  • Demonstrate previous, relevant, senior experience within e-commerce.
  • Take on Board operational responsibility.
  • Establish the rigour, systems, processes and financial reporting demanded by a growing e-commerce brand, and understood the key financial metrics within the industry.
  • Successfully influence the marketing team, in order to help drive growth.

Rowan Executive Search was retained by Online4Baby to search, assess and appoint a suitable CFO.


Rowan had worked closely with Online4Baby in the past, and trusted the Search and Assessment process.

As experts in Executive Search, Rowan:

  • Developed a strong understanding of the challenge involved in professionalising the Finance function in a small, growing family business.
  • Identified candidates with significant, relevant experience within e-commerce finance, as well as the ability to take control of operations.
  • Evaluated candidates’ exposure to warehousing, operations and their ability to influence marketing positively.
  • Tested candidates’ character fit using Rowan’s best-in-class ETP assessment methodology. Christie needed somebody with whom she could work very closely, to allow her to focus on developing and growing the business further.

Through Rowan’s search and selection process, a shortlist of 6 qualified candidates was submitted, and Nick Cooling was successfully appointed. Nick was a highly suitable candidate with a strong track record within the e-commerce industry, with BoohooMan, and further retail experience with Warburtons. Nick had strong commercial, financial and operational experience, and was an excellent character for the business.


Since joining Online4Baby, Nick has:

  • Introduced formal financial reporting for key e-commerce metrics, such as warehousing and logistics.
  • Taken control of the business from an operational perspective.
  • Allowed Christie and the rest of the Board to focus on business development and growth.
  • Contributed to a 50% predicted T/O increase of £60m in 2021.
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