O’Sullivan sells Elite shareholding in management buyout

Elite Leaders, membership advisory body to the recruitment industry, has undergone a management buyout, organisation leaders have announced exclusively to Recruiter today [17 November 2023].

Chairman and major shareholder John O’Sullivan (pictured left) has sold his shareholding to CEO Sid Barnes (pictured right) in a transaction that completed today.

Established more than 20 years ago, Elite facilitates networking, sharing and development to its members. A statement from Elite’s leaders also noted that the organisation had also helped its members “create and realise their capital value …advising on mergers, acquisitions, investment, private equity and management buyouts”.

O’Sullivan has been Elite’s chairman for 16 years. “I always advise my [non-executive director] clients that they should have a succession plan in place, so in that spirit I invited Sid to join me as CEO five years ago. During that time Sid has led and grown the business and has become enormously admired and respected by the members through his hard work, diligence and commitment,” O’Sullivan said. 

He gave as an example Barnes’s efforts during the global pandemic, “when he transformed a totally physical business to an online one virtually overnight helping to navigate our members through uncharted waters. Elite Leaders too came out the other side bigger, better and wiser”.

“I’m a firm believer that whoever leads a business should own it and therefore it is only natural that Sid and his team should now take the reins and lead Elite to the next level. That team includes some of the best experts in their fields. I will, of course, remain a fan and admirer of the company,” O’Sullivan said.

O’Sullivan said he planned to concentrate on working within his stable of companies as NED.

Barnes added: “It is my honour to be the next custodian of Elite Leaders and to continue the legacy set by John and others, of supporting the members, partners, associates to be the best they can be.”

He said a number of partnership announcements would soon follow.

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