Meet the CEO: Andrew Larholt
In March 2014 Andy travelled to the US to receive the prestigious “Best Staffing Firm to work for” award from the Staffing Industry Analysts. It is less than a decade since he founded Montash, the specialist IT recruiter, working from a single man office with no windows!
Whilst that has been quite a journey, Andy’s recruitment career began even earlier in 1998; astonishing given his youthful looks!
“I fell into recruitment at the age of 19 and joined Huxley’s City of London team. I was hooked. The energy of the place and the meritocracy suited my work ethic and ambition ideally.” Andy recalls.
In a meteoric 6 year rise he became European Recruitment Contracts Director focusing on the interim/temp/ contract market. He established and grew the team from scratch and oversaw the opening of offices in Germany and the Netherlands. Interestingly he decided to leave at that point and had the courage to set up on his own.
“The company had become much more corporate and with outside investors to report to I felt my entrepreneurial flair was being constrained. Hindsight tells me I should have waited until the market float as it would have been financially powerful for me. However, I followed my instinct and decided to set up on my own”
So Montash began in 2004 and has experienced double digit growth every year since. Its offices are located in trendy Shoreditch and in 2013 the business’ turnover exceeded £23million and expects to top £30million this year. It has assignments in 30 countries.
Andy is adamant that the combination of enduring values and excellent core expertise explain Montash’s success- even through the recession- and its respect in the competitive IT staffing sector: “ What is the differentiator in a market-IT recruitment- where much of the supply is commoditised? I took the decision from the creation of the business that it had to be based around developing consultants who were real experts in their niche markets- whether ERP or Information Security-and not generalists posing as such. Wedded to this was a set of core values that all at Montash truly adhere to including “excellence in everything we do.”
Part of Andy’s commitment to ensuring the highest professionalism for Montash is to take Corporate Governance very seriously and this is reflected in the extensive experience and calibre of his Board. This includes non-executive advisors Leon Schumacher and Alex Arnot. Leon has a breadth of international C-suite experience in businesses such as Arcelor Mittal and Novartis. Alex is well known within recruitment with 20 years of success including being a co-founder of Elite Leaders.
Andy explains: “When you set up a business from scratch having come from a large successful business like Huxley it is sometimes easy to take for granted the years of trial and error that took place to create the systems, infrastructure and internal know-how and composition of managerial boards that helped support the growth/sales function of the business.”
Andy was therefore committed to having a management team of the highest calibre to support the philosophy of meritocracy within Montash: “I am passionate at providing development opportunities to everyone at Montash whether recruitment consultant or “back-office”. The culture encourages setting and surpassing goals with the vision that the breadth and depth of the management team are always seeking to improve the service offering of Montash.”
This foundation ensures that clients gain the benefit of an agile, pro-active leadership team and consultants that deliver expert high-quality service. It is no accident that Montash works with world-class brands such as Unilever, BP and Astrazeneca.
I have had the privilege of meeting Andy several times in recent months and he personifies what the recruitment sector (indeed any sector of business) seeks in its ambassadors-as all CEO’s are-namely passionate commitment to excellence, a razor sharp intellect and the desire to improve the experience for all who deal with Montash whether staff or clients. Andy has ambitious targets for the business in the next 24 months and who would doubt he and Montash reach them?