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The Management Team

Adam Walker & Timothy Rowe – Founders

Timothy Rowe and Adam Walker co-founded Cobalt in 2001 after having enjoyed successful careers in the property and recruitment industries.

James Wakefield – Chief Executive OfficerJames Wakefield Cobalt

James leads Cobalt globally from the London Head Office having returned from the UAE in April 2017.  There he led the non-European business comprised of teams in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, having initially established Cobalt’s first non-European operation in the UAE in 2009.  James joined Cobalt in 2007 from the City Division of Michael Page to build and lead the Financial Services Division in London.  At Michael Page James was one of the company’s most successful managers on a global basis with a particularly strong track record and reputation for recruiting into senior roles as one the firm’s highest performing consultants whilst also managing highly successful teams in multiple areas.  Prior to this he served as an Officer in the British Army for 6 years, during which he deployed on multiple operational tours and gained a Queen’s Commendation for his efforts to rebuild much of the key infrastructure of Southern Iraq in 2003. James holds a masters degree in Economics & International Relations.


 Richard-Emanuel Goldhahn Cobalt

Richard-Emanuel Goldhahn – Managing Director – Germany

Richard is the Managing Director of Cobalt Deutschland GmbH and began his career at Cobalt in 2008. Before establishing the company’s German business, he worked for an international recruitment agency managing the German real estate business. He started his professional career managing human resources for major national corporations. Richard-Emanuel Goldhahn has a degree in Business Administration.

Christopher Mackenzie Cobalt

Christopher Mackenzie – Managing Director – UK

Christopher is the Managing Director responsible for the UK business consisting of its head office in London and office in Manchester.  He joined Cobalt in 2003 and has since seen the business transform from 1 to 14 global offices in that time.  As well as leading the UK business, he has responsibility for business development and recruitment across the Real Estate sectors and has a strong track record of successfully placing people within fund managers, property companies and property consultancies.  Prior to this role, he worked in the banking sector and has a degree in Financial Services.

James Collin – Regional Director MENAJames Collin Dubai
James has over 14 years of banking recruitment experience, initially gained in the City of London and then more recently the UAE. He managed the Banking Team for Jonathan Wren in London before joining HBoS/Bank of Scotland Investment Services as the Head of Talent Acquisition for the UK. He then relocated to Dubai in 2008 to set up the UAE Banking and Financial Services team of an international search firm.

James joined Cobalt in 2014 and is now the Regional Director for Cobalt MENA. His experience is focussed on C-Level and specialist positions and he has extensive experience of managing executive search processes for a wide range of international and regional banks. In addition, he has been based in the DIFC for 9 years and he therefore possesses an extensive senior network within Dubai’s financial hub.


Stephen Shorter, ACA, MA (Hons) Cantab – Finance DirectorStephen Shorter Cobalt

Stephen trained with Deloitte LLP in London, specialising in consumer businesses and healthcare. After qualification, he moved to Nuffield Health and held various commercial finance roles within the Consumer Fitness division. At Nuffield, Stephen helped to lead the integration of the former Cannons gyms into Nuffield’s existing wellbeing platforms to create the UK’s first end-to-end healthcare business. He left Nuffield in 2011 to join Unspun, an events and engagement agency, as General Manager with overall responsibility for Finance and Operations. Highlights at Unspun included delivering the acclaimed Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games and BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2012. He has a degree from Cambridge University in Social & Political Sciences.


Sara Burton – Global Operations DirectorSara Burton Cobalt

Sara commenced her career in Recruitment on an Interim desk at Badenoch & Clark, initially recruiting accountants for surveying practices, before diversifying into sourcing the surveying professionals themselves. Seeking an opportunity to build on this sector expertise, she joined Real Estate specialists Cobalt in 2003 to start the Interim Surveying desk in London. Her success at incubating new divisions included kick-starting the public sector, Middle East and Singapore desks. Having had such a broad experience in both location, sector and type of recruitment, Sara is our in-house expert on legal recruitment and compliance matters, taking the lead in everything from key account management, supplier engagement and database management. Sara holds a degree in Philosophy & Politics from the University of Warwick, and much good it does her too.



Our global clients

  • ACO
  • Akelius
  • Berkeley
  • BNP
  • Capital Real Estate
  • CBRE
  • Cording
  • Cuesko
  • Cushman & Wakefield
  • The Crown Estate
  • DBK
  • Deutsche Annington
  • Footasylum
  • Gazeley
  • Generali
  • Grainger
  • Great Portland Estates
  • Grosvenor
  • Hammerson
  • Knight Frank
  • Lands Improvement
  • Newship
  • Optic
  • Peel Outlets
  • Savills
  • William Hill