Throughout his 30-year career in recruitment, Airswift Executive Chairman Peter Searle has held managing director and chief executive positions with the Delphi Group, Ajilon and Adecco UK and Ireland. In 2006, Searle left Adecco UK and Ireland to join Spring as CEO. He returned in 2009 when Adecco purchased Spring and was appointed to the Group Executive Committee. In 2016, Searle became the CEO of Airswift — following the merger of Air Energi and Swift Worldwide Resources. As a result of the merger, Airswift joined SIA’s list of Largest Global Staffing Firms. Searle was asked to appear on the UK Government’s Select Committee for Education in 2013. In June 2018, Searle stepped down as Airswift’s CEO to take on the role of executive chairman. Searle has won multiple awards including a lifetime achievement award for his services to recruitment.
Phil Cooper’s experience includes 20 years in the human capital and workforce management industry spanning markets all over the globe. In his current role as VP, operations, EMEA for Allegis Global Solutions, Cooper is responsible for delivering solutions for global clients that integrate multiple technology partners and suppliers, while also managing programs and client implementations. In May 2017, Cooper led the expansion of AGS operations to Birmingham, England, creating more than 100 new jobs in the city. Cooper is passionate about affecting those around him, whether it’s acting as the company’s EMEA executive sponsor for diversity and inclusion, leading senior leader customer roundtable discussions or helping clients solve their talent acquisition challenges.
Nigel Heap is managing director of Hays UK & Ireland and chairman of Hays Asia Pacific. Heap has been with the company since 1988. In 1997, he was appointed managing director of Hays Australia, adding New Zealand in 1999, Hong Kong and China in 2006, Japan and Singapore in 2007 and Malaysia in 2012. In 2006, Heap was appointed managing director of Asia Pacific and joined the group management board.
Gary Elden has been CEO of SThree since January 2013 after serving as its deputy CEO since May 2012. Before that, Elden was SThree’s chief strategy officer. He has held a number of senior positions, including that of founding managing director of Huxley Associates. As chief strategy officer, he was responsible for the expansion of the group’s international operations and non-ICT disciplines.
Ann Swain is the first global CEO of APSCo, an international trade body representing the professional recruitment sector in the UK, Germany, Singapore and Australia. APSCo, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, last year reached over 1,000 UK members and successfully lobbied the government to extend the time that UK recruitment businesses have to prepare for the extension of IR35 rules into the private sector. Swain helped design and launch APSCo’s executive MBA in human capital programme in 2019. Developed in collaboration with Grant Thornton UK LLP and delivered by Cranfi eld School of Management, the programme is the fi rst qualifi cation of its kind tailored specifically to those within the recruitment, staffing and HR arenas.
Brian Wilkinson is CEO of Matchtech Group Plc, having joined the company as executive chairman in December 2013. Wilkinson has worked in the recruitment industry for more than 30 years and has been an active proponent of raising standards over that time, serving terms as chairman of both FRES and the REC.
Johnathan Johnson is the chief executive officer of Fircroft. Johnson joined Fircroft in 1997 as a consultant and was promoted to operations director for the IT, commercial and rail sectors in 2001. Since taking the helm in 2005 from his father and company founder John Johnson, he has overseen the global expansion of the company. Fircroft now operates in more than 60 countries and reported an annual turnover of £898 million in 2013. Johnson was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2011 in the globalisation category.
Simon Coton has been with NES Global Talent for over 20 years and in that time has built up a wealth of experience across the workforce spectrum. He has led NES operations as COO since 2008 and oversees the entire global recruitment function. Coton has been a key part of the executive team, delivering the sale of NES to AEA investors in 2012 and securing six acquisitions since 2014. Under Coton’s leadership, NES Global Talent has expanded its overseas operations to 58 locations and grown its turnover to over $1 billion.
CEO of Affinity Workforce, Nicola McQueen has worked in the recruitment industry for more than 20 years, first joining Hays then moving to Capita. By 2010, she was appointed as managing director of Capita Resourcing and significantly grew the business, launching new services internationally and integrating strategic acquisitions to enhance the existing proposition. In 2016, McQueen was appointed as executive director of the Workplace Services division. Last year, McQueen led a management buyout of Capita’s specialist recruitment businesses, forming Affinity Workforce, now one of the largest privately owned public service recruitment specialists in the UK.
Peter Searle joined Airswift in 2015 as CEO and became executive chairman in June 2018. He has significantly contributed to many recruitment brands, most notably The Adecco Group, where he was CEO of UK & Ireland. Searle also led and sold two companies, Delphi and Spring, to Adecco and has been instrumental in developing central recruiting, RPO and MSP global business models. Airswift in the past year expanded geographically — including new premises in Mauritania, Senegal, Guyana and Mexico — and also developed a fourth super-hub in the Middle East. The firm completed a two-year integration program following the merger of Swift Worldwide Resources and Air Energi in early 2016, and also established its global mobility service line offering.