Social Chain
North West


Social Chain are a highly profitable, fast-paced and entrepreneurial global social media marketing agency based in Manchester.

After raising $2m of funding from the Germans “Dragons’ Den” (The Lions’ Cave), they needed to:

  • Expand into international markets.
  • Improve reporting standards and controls.
  • Build out a Board team.

Rowan were retained by Social Chain Founder, Steve Bartlett and CFO, Christian Grobel, to appoint a new Head of Financial Reporting.


Rowan worked closely with the Social Chain founder, along with the Investors, to:

  • Understand the challenging balance needed between the ”old school” investor approach of the German Investors who needed to preserve & model cash flow to allow international expansion.
  • Appreciate the unique & dynamic culture of Social Chain; office slides, ball pits, pool tables etc – something they wanted to endure for the long term.

Rowan conducted a rigorous Search & Assessment process to identify a candidate who not only aligned with the company’s culture and could foster it but also possessed strong financial discipline. Additionally, Rowan evaluated candidates’ technical abilities to ensure they could implement improvements at a level satisfactory to both investors and the Social Chain Board.


Rowan appointed David Cawley – who had highly relevant experience as Head of UK Finance for a privately-owned, international tech business that went on to be AIM listed.

Rowan assessed beyond the CV & understood David’s personality was adaptable to suit both the merge the culture & expectations of both investor & founder.

After being appointed by Rowan, David Cawley successfully:

  • Built & led Social Chain’s first finance team – 7 strong.
  • Supported a 900% international revenue increase from £7m to £18m.
  • Worked with the founder and investors to achieve listing on the Dusseldorf Stock Exchange (2019).
  • Moved into the Group Finance Director position.
  • Won the Manchester Young Finance Director of the Year award (2019).
"It was a pleasure dealing with Louise and Gemma. In a challenging market, they delivered a strong list of candidates for the role and we are delighted with Claire’s appointment and her joining the business."
David Cawley, Head of Financial Reporting.
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