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AEM International’s team of consultants and researchers are experienced in providing organisational design, executive search and recruitment solutions for the arts, entertainment and creative industries. Led by Heather Newill, the company’s founding Director, we have built an excellent reputation over 25 years for the timely and professional delivery of our assignments, ensuring the process is discreet, stress free and ultimately successful. An indication of the trust and respect we win is seen in the regular repeat business we are offered by satisfied clients looking to fill additional senior roles in their organisations.

The Arts Practice in particular has received international recognition for its inspired appointments. Many of the Chief Executives and Artistic Directors we have placed have not only had a significant influence on the organisations they lead, but have also made a major contribution to the Arts industry in the UK in general, often receiving honours and awards in recognition of their services.

Our reputation is based on our personal, dedicated approach to working with our clients and candidates, our implicit understanding of search and the sector, and our commitment to delivering equality of opportunity and to managing a transparent process. 

We are working with the arts community and funding bodies to improve diversity in arts leadership and our track record demonstrates our success in achieving this by presenting our clients with candidates from a wide range of backgrounds.

Our Approach

At AEM International we lead a process where both clients and candidates receive a personal, confidential and tailored service with each assignment.   We research and reference potential candidates before contacting them to ensure the individuals we target have the right qualities and experience for our client’s particular position. This ensures that we present a qualified shortlist of candidates at the end of the process, resulting in an appointment that lasts for the long term.

CONSULT – we spend time with each client consulting and assimilating every detail of your business, your values, your culture and your positioning to ensure we offer a recruitment strategy that will align the people we find to your business vision and enable us to act confidently as your 'ambassador’ in the market place.

COMMUNICATE – we know from experience that the most successful searches are those where we work in partnership with our clients and candidates, exchanging information throughout the process.

SUPPORT – we support our clients and candidates through the search process, ensuring that all parties are consistently well-briefed, able to evaluate progress and in a position to make informed decisions.

RESPECT – all clients and candidates are treated equally, irrespective of background, ethnicity or gender. 

Our People

Heather Newill – Managing Director

Heather Newill – Managing Director

Heather Newill, Managing Director of AEM International, is an experienced search consultant specialising in placing senior personnel for the arts, entertainment and creative industries.

In 1997 Heather was invited by A.T. Kearney Executive Search to establish the UK Arts and Non-profit Division where she built up a successful and highly regarded practice. She then moved to become Director of the Arts, Entertainment and Media Practice at Friedlander Sachs where she acquired executive talent for global entertainment corporations in addition to undertaking senior executive searches for leading arts organisations.

In January 2004 Heather founded AEM International Ltd., Arts, Entertainment and Media Executive Search, to specialise in search for leadership for the arts and creative industries.

Heather has 20 years experience herself in senior level arts management and was formerly Manager of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Chief Executive of the Orchestra of St John’s and Festival Director of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. She has an excellent understanding of the cultural, entertainment and media worlds and has extensive contacts internationally.

Helen Sprott - Senior Consultant & Deputy Managing Director

Helen Sprott - Senior Consultant & Deputy Managing Director

Helen has a unique breadth of creative and leadership experience in the arts and cultural sector. She was formerly Managing Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra, Director of Music at Arts Council England, and Executive Director for NMC Recording Limited.  Earlier in her career, Helen was an award-winning Commissioning Editor for Channel 4 Television and a documentary film-maker on BBC 2’s ‘The Late Show’.

Helen was involved in many leadership appointments when at Arts Council England and since 2019 has moved into executive search. She is well networked across the music and arts sectors internationally and brings personal experience of leading teams and delivering change from within large and complex institutions.

Helen trained as a cellist and graduated from UCL.  She is a Trustee of the Academy of Ancient Music and a Non-Executive Director of St Martin-in-the-Fields Ltd.


Pippa Campbell – Senior Consultant

Pippa Campbell – Senior Consultant

Pippa has been working in international executive search for over 20 years and specialises exclusively in assignments within the Arts and Entertainment fields.  She leads senior level executive appointments across a wide range of geographic regions covering the established markets of the UK, Western Europe, North America and Australasia as well as newer emerging markets, including the Middle East and Asia.  Pippa previously worked in the London office of A.T. Kearney Executive Search where she partnered with Heather in the Arts Practice in addition to supporting colleagues in both the Public Sector and Life Sciences practices.  She has been a Senior Consultant with AEM International since it was founded in 2004.

Pippa trained at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance and obtained her BA (Hons) Dance Theatre from City University, London

Esther Gill – Associate Consultant

Esther Gill – Associate Consultant

Esther is an executive search researcher and delivery consultant with over 16 years of experience recruiting across multiple sectors and disciplines, both in the UK and internationally. She has completed executive search projects in the arts and entertainment, media, technology, e-commerce and retail, education and NGO sectors. She started her career in a boutique search firm before moving to Korn Ferry, and later the Times Educational Supplement.

Esther has worked with AEM International on a range of search assignments over the past eight years and has developed a particular interest in recruiting for clients in the non-profit, social enterprise, education, and arts and entertainment sectors. 

She graduated with a BA in History of Art from The Courtauld Institute, University of London. 

Anne Fenton – Associate (Managing Director Lumina Search)

Anne Fenton – Associate (Managing Director Lumina Search)

Anne has worked in Executive Recruitment in the Media Sector for over 12 years and in the Media as a whole for over 20 years. Formerly Joint MD of Searchlight Executive, she has worked with a wide range of clients from small start-ups to large multi-national corporations.

A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, she is also a qualified tester for Level B psychometric testing.

Before Searchlight, Anne was Executive Director of BKSTS, a professional organisation for technology professionals within the media sector.

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