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Aspen People reveals plans to double in size

ASPEN People, the recruitment firm focused on filling leadership roles, has signalled plans to double in size and broaden the range of services it offers in its first three years of trading.

The Glasgow-based company, created around a year ago by four former directors of Munro Consulting, declared the ambition after breaking its £1 million turnover target in year one.

Donogh O'Brien, who founded Aspen with Ken Dalgleish, Catriona Mackie and Nigel Fortnum, said the company is aiming for "more sustainable" growth after meeting its year one goals.

And he is confident the firm will maintain its target of growing its own headcount by 20 per cent per year, having already seen the team grow to nine since the business was set up a year ago.

Mr O'Brien said the firm's first year of trading had gone "better than planned"

He stated: "We are predicting respectable growth this year. We want to consolidate on what we did in the first year.

"We are very, very pleased with the way it went; it was a lot of hard work.

"We want to consolidate and build so we are expecting modest/respectable growth this year, and more substantive growth in the final year of our three year plan."

Mr O'Brien declined to give a profit figure for the first year of trading, stating that while a profit had been recorded the company was currently "more focused on customers and satisfaction".

Scotbeef, Teleformance, Hunter, Faccenda, NHS Tayside, SCDI (Scottish Council for Development and Industry) and the University of Highlands and Islands are among the clients it has secured.

Looking ahead, the firm has identified opportunities for growth in the specialist manufacturing, food and drinks government, charity, social enterprise and education sectors.

Mr O'Brien noted that leadership roles such as chief executives and executive are the firm's "bread and butter", but reported growth in filling non-executive and chairman roles for clients. He also highlighted a strong market for Aspen in finding roles within companies for senior executives who are looking to return to Scotland.

He said there is currently a strong demand for leadership positions in Scotland among ex-pats because of the quality of life and education the country offers, from schooling to further and higher education.

Stating that the trend was one of the factors which had given the directors the confidence to set up Aspen, Mr O'Brien said: "We are active in headhunting people into leadership roles in the UK. We have found there are a lot of ex-pats around the world who come to us. For many years we [at Munro] were known as a "go to" organisation for relocation for leadership roles to Scotland. Those relationships have taken us further across the UK and internationally, so our growth is through relationships rather than a particular country at present."

Asked for his views on the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence, Mr O'Brien said: "Fundamentally, our business is in demand [and] it is almost irrelevant. I think it's going to be positive regardless of the way Scotland votes. Our business is likely to grow regardless because leadership roles are in demand."

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