Our Board


Executive Directors


Gary Elden OBE, Chief Executive Officer

Gary Elden OBE, was appointed to the Board in July 2008, having been with the Group since 1990, when he joined Computer Futures. He has held a number of senior positions, including that of founding Managing Director of Huxley Associates.

In his role as Chief Strategy Officer, he had responsibility for the expansion of the Group's international operations and non-ICT disciplines. In June 2012, he was appointed as Deputy Chief Executive Officer and took over from Russell Clements as Chief Executive Officer on 1 January, 2013.

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Alex Smith, Chief Financial Officer

Alex Smith joined SThree in May 2008, having held a number of senior financial and operational roles in the leisure and retail sectors. He previously held the position of Integration Finance Director at TUI Travel PLC and he was Finance Director of First Choice's UK mainstream business.

Prior to these positions he was Managing Director of WH Smith's Travel Retail business and held senior financial roles at Travelodge and Forte PLC. Alex has a degree in Economics from Durham University and is an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

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Justin Hughes, Chief Operating Officer

Justin Hughes joined SThree in 1994, as a trainee recruitment consultant at Progressive. Making dynamic progress to Sales Director and ultimately to Managing Director of Progressive in 2007, he was the strategic driving force behind Progressive's international and global growth, as well as overseeing the business' diversification into new market sectors, notably Oil and Gas.

Appointed to the SThree board in June 2012, Justin was responsible for realising SThree's strategic growth plans across Asia Pacific and MENA. In 2017, Justin was appointed to the new role of Chief Operating Officer, responsible for the global operations strategy. He holds an Honours Degree in Economics and is a graduate of the Senior Executive Program at Columbia University, New York.

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Non-Executive Directors


James Bilefield, Chairman

James Bilefield was appointed to the SThree Board as Non-Executive Director and member of the Remuneration, Audit and Nomination Committee on 1 October 2017, and as Chairman on 26 April 2018. He joined the Board of Stagecoach Group plc on 1 February 2016, where he currently serves on the Remuneration and Nomination Committees. Other appointments include Cruise.co (Chairman), McKinsey & Company (Senior Advisor), Advent International (Industry Advisor) and Teach First (Trustee).

James has an international track record of successfully leading growing digital businesses. He managed the digital transformation of media group, Condé Nast, across 27 countries, scaled Skype’s global operations as part of its founding management team and held senior management roles at Yahoo! during its major growth phase. Formerly CEO of global advertising technology company, OpenX, he also co-founded the UK local information business, UpMyStreet, following an investment banking career at JP Morgan Chase.

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Anne Fahy, Non-Executive Director

Anne Fahy was appointed to the SThree Board, the Nomination Committee and as Chair of the Audit Committees in October 2015. Anne is also Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee at Interserve, the international support services and construction company. Prior to joining SThree, Anne was Chief Financial Officer of BP’s Aviation Fuels business. During her 27 years at BP, Anne has gained extensive experience of global business, developing markets, risk management, internal control, compliance and strategy development in BP’s aviation, petrochemicals, trading and retail sectors. Anne is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, having worked at KPMG in Ireland and Australia prior to joining BP in 1988.

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Barrie Brien, Non-Executive Director

Barrie Brien was appointed to the SThree Board as a Non-Executive Director and member of the Remuneration, Audit and Nomination Committees, on 11 September 2017. Barrie was most recently Group Chief Executive of Creston plc (a media and marketing communications group) stepping down in April 2017 following its sale and de-listing. Barrie was also Chief Operating and Financial Officer of Creston plc from 2004 to 2014 and was extensively involved in the growth of the group with its buy and build strategy. Barrie currently sits on the Professional Business Services (PBS) Council, which advises government on key issues facing the professions. Prior to Creston plc, Barrie was previously Chief Operating and Financial Officer for EMEA at Lowe and Draft Worldwide, having joined Lowe & Partners in 1998 as Chief Financial Officer for Lowe UK; and spent six years at Saatchi & Saatchi, where he held senior positions across Europe and North America. In addition to the extensive public company experience, including M&A, fund raisings and investor relations, Barrie has spent thirty years working in global creative, digital, marketing and media companies advising clients across multiple industries on their marketing and communications.

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Denise Collis, Non-Executive Director

Denise Collis was appointed to the SThree Board, Nomination Committee and Remuneration Committee on 1st July 2016, Chair of the Remuneration Committee on 1st September 2016 and Senior Independent Director (SID) on 1st October 2018. Denise is also a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Remuneration Committee at Connect Group PLC, the specialist distribution company. Other appointments include Chair of the Remuneration Committee and a member of the Advisory Council at the British Heart Foundation; Vice Chair to the International Advisory Board to Leeds University Business School, and a member of the Advisory Board to the University of Exeter Business school. Prior this, Denise was the Group HR Director for 3i Group PLC, and most recently Chief People Officer for Bupa. She has extensive international Human Resources and executive committee experience, and has also held senior roles in EY, Standard Chartered PLC and HSBC. Denise is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

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Executive Committee members


Dave Rees, Chief Sales Officer

David joined SThree in 1998 as a trainee with Progressive London and quickly progressed to running their Scottish office. In 2002, he joined Real and was appointed Director in 2006 where he was responsible for setting up Real Pharma globally. In 2012 David became Managing Director for the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and joined the SThree Exec Committee. In 2015 he was promoted to Senior Managing Director of Europe and in 2017, he was appointed to the new role of Chief Sales Officer, responsible for the global growth strategy.

David studied History at Swansea University and Business Administration at Lampeter and Glamorgan University. He also completed the Leadership Development Programme at Henley Business School.

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Natasha Clarke, Managing Partner, Chief People Officer

Natasha started her career at SThree with Progressive in 1994. In 1997, she was the founding Managing Director of Pathway (now part of Real Staffing Group) and she headed up expansion into the Middle East, Brazil and Russia. Natasha is currently responsible for the implementation of the global corporate strategy, HR and learning and performance. She has been an executive board member for the last 10 years. Natasha has been recognised as leading the way, on the inclusion and progress of women in the workplace by winning the Champion Award at the Opportunity Now Excellence in Practice Awards 2014.

SThree has also been the only staffing company to be awarded a place in the Times Top 50 Employers of Women, 2014 and 2015.Natasha is currently the Chair of Women in Recruitment and a trustee of The Opera Global Youth Foundation; previously she was an APSCO Executive Member (Association of Professional Staffing Companies). In October 2016, she also joined the Board of Leeds University Business School’s International Advisory Board. Natasha has a Degree in Management Studies from Leeds University.

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Steve Hornbuckle, Group Company Secretary and Legal Director

Steve Hornbuckle joined the Group as Company Secretary in October 2006, taking charge of IR matters in 2011 and was appointed Legal Director in 2013. Steve has over twenty five years' company secretarial experience, having held senior positions within a variety of listed companies, including Intertek Group plc, BPB plc, Kidde plc, Railtrack Group plc, London and Manchester Group plc and English China Clays plc.

Steve is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries ('ICSA'), sits on the ICSA Company Secretaries' Forum and Investor Relations Society Policy Committee and was voted Company Secretary of the Year in 2011.

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