Rowan on track for record year as it marks milestone birthday

Paul Waite, Rowan Executive Search
X The Business Desk

Register for free to receive latest news stories direct to your inbox


An executive search company which works with ambitious north west business owners to secure top talent to drive their growth is on track for a record year as it plans to expand across the UK.

Rowan Executive Search, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary, has been boosted by several high-profile appointments whose arrival has led to an increased range of services.

The consultancy, founded in 2011 by Paul Waite, Richard Robinson and David Anwyl, is forecasting revenues of £3.2m for 2021, a rise of nearly 40% on last year’s £2.3m.

Rowan specialises in the recruitment of board directors and management teams for private and family-owned small and medium-sized businesses and those backed by private equity, to help owners and stakeholders achieve their growth ambitions.

In 2020, Rowan clients were involved in exit deals with a total value of £1bn.

The company focuses on recruiting chief executives, chairmen, other board level directors and senior executives for finance, sales and marketing, operations, HR and tech roles across sectors ranging from e-commerce, technology and healthcare to logistics and distribution, infrastructure and manufacturing.

Clients include e-commerce fulfilment business Fulfilmentcrowd, where Rowan recently worked with the owners to recruit a new chairman and other senior executives, paving the way for PE investment and an exit for one of its shareholders.

Other clients of Rowan include Clubhouse Golf, SpaMedica, Eque2, Utiligroup, Lakelovers and MPM Products.

Rowan has been strengthened by the arrival of Iain Duncan, Mark Fahy and Johnathan Massey in recent months.

Iain, a former senior manager at HSBC with over 36 years’ banking experience, has joined as an external funding consultant to work with Rowan’s SME client base.

Mark, who spent 14 years in senior roles at London Stock Exchange and was then head of new business at corporate finance boutique Rickitt Mitchell, has joined Rowan as an associate director advising companies looking at a flotation.

Johnathan has joined as an associate director to head a new division focusing on non-executive director roles and to advise clients seeking to raise investment.

His move to Rowan marks a return to the executive search industry where he began his professional career. He subsequently worked for more than 15 years in private equity and corporate finance at firms including Ardenton, Palatine, Mazars and Aberdeen Asset Managers.

Managing director Paul Waite said: “Our focus is solely on the SME market, working with companies looking to secure the right talent to help them drive performance and realise their growth ambitions.

“Our success during our first decade in business is a reflection of the foundations laid at the beginning of our journey by the founders, the tremendous support of our very talented team, and the richness of a thriving and successful north west business community, who have the vision and courage to back themselves and their ideas to create great businesses.”

He added: “Covid’s headwinds have meant that leadership development and change have never been more critical, and we are proud to play our part in this evolution.

“Interestingly, during the first half of 2021 we undertook a record number of searches and this upward trend looks set to continue. With a strong pipeline of repeat business and new client wins, we are committed to growth and expansion in the north west while also exploring opportunities across the UK.”

Rowan began life with a team of four and now has 27 staff. It has its headquarters in the XYZ Building in Spinningfields, Manchester, and an office at the Strawberry Fields Digital Hub in Chorley.