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), the business was looking to expand into international markets. In doing so they would need to build out a full senior leadership board team who could deliver improved reporting standards and controls.

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, and investors, to understand the challenges posed by the ”old school” approach of the German Investors who were looking to preserve & model cash flow to allow international expansion. Additionally the unique & dynamic culture of Social Chain needed to be retained, therefore any crucial hires needed to match the company culture.

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 function to a 7 strong team. David played a pivotal role in the 900% international revenue increase from £7m to £18m. He worked with the founder and investors to achieve listing on the Dusseldorf Stock Exchange (2019).

David progressed into the Group Finance Director position and went on to win 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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