Brightwork promotes finance director May to CEO

Scottish multi-sector recruiter Brightwork Group has promoted its finance director, Derek May, to chief executive.

Mon, 20 Apr 2015

Scottish multi-sector recruiter Brightwork Group has promoted its finance director, Derek May, to chief executive.

The appointment signals a change in strategy for the group, which has ambitious plans to double profit before tax by 2018. 

Anthony Knight, who previously led the business as managing director, has stepped aside from an operational role but will remain on the group’s board. 

Knight has been with the group since 1997 and led the management buyout (MBO) from global recruiter Hudson in 2006. 

Speaking to Recruiter this morning [20 April], May said he was excited by the “big challenge” of moving “from [the] finance side of the fence back into operations”.

May, a chartered management accountant, has had dealings with the company since just before the MBO in 2006, when he worked on an interim basis. He has been the group’s finance director since 2013. 

On his appointment, he said: “We’ve got to a particular stage in the company’s development and thought a new way would help deliver ambitious growth plans.”

He estimated the as yet unreleased 2014 annual accounts would show a group profit before tax of £800k but the plan was to double that by 2018.

The firm has been a regular on Recruiter's FAST 50 lists of the fastest growing recruitment agencies in the UK, compiled by Boxington Corporate Finance – from 38th in the 2012 list to 6th in 2013 and 17th last year. It did not appear this year but, “with a bit of luck”, it would be on the 2016 list, May said.

“That would be a validation of us executing the strategy,” he added.

That strategy has four aspects: investment in IT systems; investment in staff training and development; building long-term relationships with clients or, “adopting more of a partner-type approach”; and providing better candidate experience to leverage word-of-mouth advertising. 

May said they would also invest in headcount with a view to growing the permanent side of the business and possibly expand to other sectors. 

From its Glasgow and Edinburgh bases, the group has Scotland well covered. May is not ruling out expansion into England, he told Recruiter.

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