SThree CEO Gary Paul Elden has been honoured by the Queen with an Officer for the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of his services to Diversity in Business.

Gary, who was awarded the Black British Business Person of the year in 2015 and is a trustee of the Powerlist Foundation, which runs an annual leadership programme to inspire young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds, is proud to receive such a prestigious award.

"Diversity and inclusion are very close to my heart!"

“It is an amazing honour to be awarded an OBE, particularly as part of the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations. Diversity and inclusion are very close to my heart, both at work and in the local community. At SThree, I work tirelessly to ensure a meritocratic approach to our employee’s career progression and aspirations – no matter their background, gender, or religion. It’s about them as an individual,” says Gary.

“I want to be a role model for those who may not feel well represented at the top of the business world. I’ve remained heavily engaged with the BME community for many years, giving numerous talks to inspire audiences of young people to believe that they can reach their full potential, regardless of their background or skin colour."

Increasing awareness of diversity and inclusion

In 2012, as part of our Diversity and Inclusion Programme, SThree founded ‘Identity’ with the objective of providing a strategic approach to managing diversity at SThree and increase awareness of diversity and inclusion.

“Our initiatives with various community partners has allowed us to set ambitious fundraising targets. We also work with a number of charity organisations including Powerlist Foundation, City Gateway, Mitie Foundation’s Ready2Work scheme, UpRising, Caius House, Youth Futures, The Challenge, NCS, Circle Collective, Leadership through Sport and Business, Chelsea Academy, Generating Genius, SOS Children’s Villages, Syria Relief and Heart of the City,” says Gary.

Joining SThree over 25 years ago, Gary is one of very few black CEOs of a FTSE company. In recent years, the company has challenged established employment practices, with Gary leading initiatives across the company’s 43 offices. This has seen significant changes in the way the company hires and promotes, to ensure that it has a truly meritocratic environment.