Our Team


Claire Tomlin

Managing Director

After graduating with a Master’s in Law from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1996, Claire joined Shell International Trading & Shipping Company in London as a physical trader on the fuel oil desk dealing with Scandinavia and NWE before taking responsibility for the Arab and Persian Gulf trading books. After 4 years, she was headhunted into a Russian trading company before moving to a specialist African oil trading house and finally into Macquarie Bank where she traded purely in derivatives in both fuel oil and crude as well as deputizing for the distillates book.

Claire joined the world of executive search and consulting in 2009 and became the Oil Portfolio Lead for a specialist commodities search firm for 6 years before setting up Clarion Search in 2015.

Claire spends her time between London and Worcestershire where she has 3 children and 2 mischievous dogs. Having grown up in the Highlands of Scotland, she counts nature as one of her key passions (she is a life-long supporter of the World Wildlife Fund) along with a love of travelling. At the last count, she had visited 64 distinct countries and has high hopes of crossing many more off the bucket list when life allows.


Candice Colin

Lead Researcher

Working in the banking industry for 10+ years, Candice spent 6 of those years at Bank of America Merrill Lynch where she worked as a Business Support Officer on a commodities trading floor and this is where her interest for the energy industry started. In 2015, she started work at a Commodities Search Firm where she gained working knowledge within the recruitment industry and met Claire, the Clarion MD.

In 2017 Candice advanced within the recruitment industry and started her own business supporting boutique executive search firms in the oil & gas industry as a freelance researcher. Her communication, organisation, and ability to build relationships has seen Candice’s professional growth and development flourish which has resulted in her working on global sourcing and placements for the some of the biggest names in the industry. Her genuine passion and commitment for adding value to both businesses and individuals is evident in all that Candice does and she started work for Clarion in 2020.

Candice is from Johannesburg, South Africa and has spent 17 years living and working in London. Candice has a passion for traveling and experiencing different cultures: she has travelled across much of Europe, the Americas, and Asia. She is now settled in Rochester where she enjoys the surrounding countryside and does a lot of hiking with her two mini dachshunds, if they can keep up!


Ran Qin

Senior Recruitment Consultant

Ran is an accomplished head-hunter in the energy trading industry, with experience recruiting top talent for leading companies in the field. Throughout Ran’s career, she has established a reputation for excellence, consistently delivering high-quality candidates who meet the unique needs of each client.

Ran began her career in recruitment after earning a Master’s degree in accounting and finance. She quickly found success in the industry, building a strong network of contacts, and developing a deep understanding of the energy trading landscape, especially in Gas, Power and LNG.

Throughout her career, Ran has worked with a wide range of clients, from startups to Fortune 500 companies: from Oil Majors to world leading Investment Banks and Trading Houses. She has a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by energy trading firms, and her expertise has helped clients to build strong, high-performing teams globally.

Outside of work, Ran is an avid reader, and she enjoys spending time with her family in the UK and China. Ran has been living in the UK for 15 years. As a native Chinese speaker, she is keen to using her cultural knowledge to build bridges between talents and clients based in Asia and Europe.


Hannu Koivusalo

Managing Partner

Having graduated with a Master’s degree from Turku School of Economics and Business Administration in his native Finland, Hannu joined Shell International where he spent the first eight years of his career. After his initial years in Finland working in retail, distribution, and supply, Hannu worked for Shell in Copenhagen and Rotterdam as an Assistant Trading Manager across oil products, and for Shell International Trading and Shipping Company in London as a Senior Trader on the distillates desk.

In 2000, Hannu left Shell and held various trading and managerial roles for several international trading companies including Statoil, Borealis and Kolmar with a focus on the lighter end of the barrel. His last position, prior to starting with Clarion Search in Switzerland in 2016, was as the Oil Trading Manager for Gazprom Marketing and Trading. Due to his 25 years in the industry, trading across the oil products barrel as well as crude, Hannu has very wide experience and a wealth of contacts.

In addition to the oil industry Hannu had a separate career as a coach in American football which culminated in him being the Head Coach for the National Team of Finland from 2006 to 2008. Hannu lives in Switzerland together with his wife and has two grown-up children. Hannu’s hobbies include going to the gym, skiing, and running. Hannu is also working to promote various charity projects with a focus on education in India.


Maarit Makinen

Director of Renewables

After graduating in Russian language and economics from the Kouvola Institute of Foreign languages and Economics, Maarit worked in the metals and mining industry for her first 8 years in Finland and Moscow. In 1997 Maarit started her oil career with Greenergy Baltic in Helsinki as a senior products operator.

After the take-over by Enron, Maarit moved over to their European headquarters in London in 2000. Following Enron, she then held senior trading operations positions for several international trading companies including Galaxy Energy Group, Monaco and Kolmar Energy in Zug, Switzerland.

Currently Maarit works part time as a Supply Chain Manager in UPM Helsinki as well as heading up Clarion’s activity in the renewables industry.

As a result of her 22 years in the oil and energy sector Maarit has wide experience in commercial trading operations and is well connected across the industry.

In addition to her working life Maarit spends her time between Finland and Switzerland where her husband is currently working and losing shoes. Maarit´s hobbies include Yoga and Pilates classes, voluntary work in patients’ associations and knitting crafts.


Steven Xie

Managing Director, Asia

Having graduated from Guangzhou Institute of Foreign Languages (now Guangdong University of International Trade and Foreign Studies) with a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature, Steven undertook further studies in law, economics and history of diplomacy for one year before working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of PRC. He moved to work for Sinochem in 1992 as an oil trader, initially in Beijing before being posted to Sinochem Pacific (based in California, USA) as VP and later transferred to Sinochem Singapore as Deputy GM. In those jobs he covered all aspects of oil products trading.

After 5 years, Steven joined Masefield in Singapore covering crude and oil products trading before moving to Trafigura Singapore in 2002 and subsequently heading up Trafigura’s operations in China for 4 years. Between 2008 and 2015, Steven worked for other independent traders such as BB Energy and Louis Dreyfus in both Singapore and China before establishing himself as an independent consultant to the energy trading industry in 2015.

As a result of the varied career Steven has had to date, he has a wealth of contacts across Asia, especially in both Singapore and the People’s Republic of China and his knowledge spans oil, LNG, and derivative trading.


James Leivesley

Senior Consultant

The newest addition to the team, James joins Clarion with a wealth of Global executive search experience spanning a number of sectors. In 2001, following a number of years working in the Public Sector, James started a recruitment company servicing the telecommunications industry. Over time he started to focus on the candidate facing side of recruitment and as well offering executive search, provided clients with a variety of services including talent mapping, talent planning and insight reporting. Clients have included a number of industry leaders in engineering, technology and financial services.

Outside of work James is married, lives in Shropshire and has 2 grown up children. After many years driving these 2 aspiring football players around the UK for games, weekends are significantly less busy and involve walking, reading, and eating out.

A proportion of our company profits are donated to the charitable causes detailed in the biographies above.