Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.


As specialists in the SME sector, our C-Suite team, led by Paul Waite and David Anwyl, works with owners seeking support or succession planning through a CEO or senior Board-level appointment.

This is often event-led; an MBO exit plan, a transition from owner to Chair, or a family-owned business being passed down through generations.

Our experience, heritage and deep knowledge of the Private Equity marketplace means we are trusted by VC and mid-market Private Equity investors to appoint CEOs, Chairs and other Board-level Executives at the point of investment, or at some point after it.

We work with founder-led businesses and their investors, to create MBO teams that support investment in Pre-Deal scenarios, and are the preferred partner for many of the North’s leading Private Equity houses.

We’ve delivered over 100 C-Suite appointments over the last 5 years, across a range of sectors including Tech, Manufacturing & FMCG, Retail & Ecommerce, Healthcare & Pharma and Professional Services.

In short, we’re search specialists with a real passion for identifying, assessing and ultimately matching CEOs, Chairs and other Board-level Executives with opportunities that enable them to achieve their ambition.

Capital isn’t scarce – vision is.

Chair and NED

Our experienced non-executive team works with ambitious business owners, investors and family-owned businesses to appoint Chairs and non-executive directors to support business growth, value realisation and transition.

The appointment of a Chair or non-executive is often event-led. We work with firms across Venture Capital and Private Equity both pre- and post-deal, as well as with private businesses that are going through a transition, seeking further growth, realising value or working towards an exit.

We work closely with clients to understand what they are trying to achieve and the role a Chair or non-executive will play.  We utilise both our network and professional Research team to identify candidates with the background and experience needed to deliver the outcomes required.

Money is hard to earn and easy to lose.

Finance Executives

Our finance experts, led by Peter Holt and Carl Meyler, work with ambitious CFOs, FDs, Finance Controllers and future FDs with track records of influencing performance and fuelling results in high-growth SMEs.

For privately owned businesses this key hire will often act as the ‘right-hand-person’ to the owner, to support them in improving performance and accelerating growth.

We understand the need for a ‘hands-on’ appointee, who also has the strategic vision to realise your SME’s ambition, whether this is an exit or transition to the next generation.

We also work with PE-backed businesses to identify CFOs and Finance Directors with the skills and experience to manage multiple stakeholders though a fixed period of growth through to exit.  Our candidates may not necessarily have PE experience, but we will ensure they understand the PE mindset.

Many of our Board- and Director-level opportunities include equity or opportunity for future equity, which helps align a candidate to the Board strategy.  In all cases, the opportunities and networks we work with offer diverse, exciting and immersive roles – typical of your ambitious SME.

Your brand is so much more than what you sell.


Louise Stephenson heads up our team of marketing experts, which understands that the crossover between Sales and Marketing is ever-increasing.

Whether it be marketing-led sales strategies or sales-led marketing strategies, this convergence is driving the need for an ever-expanding range of skill sets. From traditional CMOs and Marketing Directors to more specialised, senior technical roles, Rowan has the market covered and possesses significant, in-house marketing expertise and experience.

Traditional marketing remains integral to support business growth, with digital marketing an ever-more common route to market, utilising technical and digital skills to drive customer engagement. The ability to exploit and adapt to changing technology is often part of the thought process around building teams, which can deliver future-proof marketing strategies.

Rowan understands how marketing fits into your wider business strategy, and works with candidates who understand the need to demonstrate a tangible return on investment, as part of a broader set of metrics used to measure success.

Great salespeople are relationship builders, who provide value and help your customers win.


Sales drive the growth of your business and building a team to deliver is crucial to future success. Led by Louise Stephenson and Scott Wilkinson, at Rowan we support companies as they scale and seek to drive top-line growth. Whether it be a Sales Director to drive new client acquisition, or Commercial Directors to set strategy and execute the sales plan, Rowan consults with businesses to identify and understand their Sales requirements at the start of the hiring process.

Throughout the process we ensure that clients keep their customers at the centre of their thinking, and help them to understand and clearly define the customer journey. Whether it be B2B, B2C or B2B2C, this collaborative approach provides the platform to build the team that can execute the strategy and drive value creation across the business.

Specialist sector focus means that the team at Rowan understands the nuances of various sectors, and is able to identify emerging trends and ensure they know where the best candidates can be sourced. This market intelligence enables a more consultative approach as companies seek solutions to drive revenue, and delivers the right people outcomes first time, every time.

In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product and profits.


You know your product better than anyone, and Rowan’s mantra is, “it’s all about the people.” Our HR & Operations team, led by Louise Ellis, has the expertise and experience to help you appoint key, senior Operations positions; COO, Operations Director, and Supply Chain Director, amongst others.

Sales drives growth, but operations drives profitability, and at Rowan we understand that top-line growth is meaningless if margin remains the same. Rowan works with SMEs to understand their key KPIs and profit drivers, and the people, systems and processes that support them.

The candidates we work with have usually worked at a strategic level – leading team transformations, restructuring Operations departments, implementing KPIs & SLAs, making efficiencies and successfully supporting SMEs through periods of change management.

It’s all about the people.


Our business objective can be summed up succinctly as; “People-Powered Growth.”

Our HR & Operations team is led by Louise Ellis, and has years of experience in appointing HRDs and Heads of People to facilitate better organisational design, talent acquisition strategies and employee relations.

However, there is a growing number of new positions that we are being asked to appoint. Board and Director-level positions in Culture, Engagement and Diversity are becoming ever more commonplace. 

Long-overlooked in business, the creation and sustainment of a harmonious, happy and productive culture for a diverse, well-represented and motivated workforce is rightly being recognised as a critical skill in its own right.

Rowan is a forward-thinking, modern Executive Search business, and we engage with professionals that reflect this, and our business values. 

It really is ‘all about the people!’

Everything is theoretically impossible, until it’s done.

Life Sciences

The Life Science industry is an area of huge economic importance, which is experiencing unprecedented levels of interest and investment. Organisations within this sector require talented individuals with rare, specialist, skills and experience to enable their organisations to compete and grow in a fiercely competitive market.  This is a sector that attracts entrepreneurs, early-stage investment and high-growth SMEs, and as such, is perfectly suited Rowan’s Executive Search and Assessment process, supported by our proprietary ‘Leadership Dynamics’ technology, which underpins our clients’ growth and value creation plans.

Our Head of Life Sciences, Josh Guest, has years of experience finding, engaging with, and acquiring talented people who ‘move the needle’ for his clients’ organisations. With a specific focus on appointing industry-specific, scientifically or technically niche, senior leadership positions – such as Chief Medical Officer, Chief Technology Officer and Director of Research and Development, amongst others – Josh is the ideal partner for any IP-rich, privately owned or Private Equity-funded organisation, seeking transformative candidates across the areas of drug discovery or Healthtech.

In addition to Josh’s expertise and experience, Rowan Life Science’s clients are also able to leverage a close working relationship with Rowan’s partner firm DRAX Executive and DRAX’s own Life Science division. This means that both domestic and international Life Science-focused organisations, which are scaling towards or beyond secondary/tertiary investment stages, are able gain access to the market’s best talent through market experts Ryan Abbott and Michael Klinger.

Rowan’s expertise also covers all of the core disciplines within the Life Science sector: C-Suite, Finance, Sales, Marketing, HR, Operations and NED. The business has been supporting SMEs and PE-backed businesses for over a decade, and with our reputation and extensive network, we are uniquely positioned in the market to build out high-performing Boards, which can attract investment and drive growth.