I graduated from Manchester with an Economics degree and went on to The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for Young Officer training. I spent the next 8 years serving in the Infantry with the Royal Anglian Regiment, which included two operational tours of duty. After the Army, I spent the next 9 years’ working for Michael Page and was a joint founder of their HR recruitment business in 2000. I left to launch Oakleaf Partnership in 2005. I wanted a business that reflected not only the customers we serve, but also one that embodied my own values and I firmly believe that we have achieved that ambition.
I have run two marathons (in 1996 and 2005) raising over £7,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer but it’s now time to spend a bit more time playing (bad) golf. I enjoy all sports, particularly rugby, and reading military history and biographies. Free fall parachuting and motorbikes were my passion when I was younger but I have recently taken up clay shooting – great fun and no one shoots back at you!
Coping with change is critical and something that is pretty much at the forefront of all business agendas today
Also maintaining our 3 star rating for employee engagement
Oakleaf provided an excellent, professional and open response to my request to work together to source and secure a new global Head of HR for Henderson. Excellent in the quality and diverse backgrounds of the candidates that they sourced and the in-depth analysis on each candidate; professional in how they dealt with me, Henderson and the candidates; and open in the ease in which we were able to discuss the profile of the role, the candidates and agree on the shortlist and final selection. The fact that we recruited the existing interim head of HR is itself a testament to Oakleaf. They presented each candidate equally and fairly, whilst being incredibly helpful in identifying the relative strengths of each candidate, but did not push for a result. As well as excellent service, I enjoyed working with Oakleaf and would recommend them to others.
Roger Thompson - Finance Director, Henderson Global Investors
I have worked with Richard and Oakleaf for some years and have complete confidence in all the Oakleaf team. I have valued not only their HR knowledge and expertise but also their business perspective.
Simon Lloyd - Head of HR & Company Secretary, Santander (UK)
Oakleaf Partnership did an excellent job for us! They produced a high-quality “long list” of well-qualified candidates in a short period of time in our search for a Global HR Director. From this, I was able to select a strong short list for our final decision. The approach of Oakleaf was professional, thoughtful and responsive, and I would recommend them as a company.
Brian Gosschalk - Ipsos, Head of the Office of the Presidents
The Towergate HR Exec and I have been delighted to form a strategic partnership with Oakleaf throughout 2015 & 2016. Working together we have successfully recruited HR leaders & professionals in Service Delivery, Transformation, Reward and Business Partnering. Client focus, integrity and constant straightforward communication are the strengths we value most, resulting in great candidates that fit our business and deliver results.
Catherine Lynch – Group HR Director, Towergate Insurance
We have used Oakleaf for a number of roles and they have delivered excellent candidates. Their knowledge of the HR market is thorough and they seem to build a great rapport with candidates.
Jim Richardson - Santander UK
Having worked with Oakleaf over a number of years, both as a client and a candidate, I can say that their advice and knowledge of the HR profession and the marketplace has given us confidence in the solutions, support and ultimately the candidates they offer. Candidate experience has been exemplary with careful matching of candidate to organisation and support offered once in post. From a company perspective, insightful questioning and probing alongside their extensive market database enables successful and confident hiring.
Charlotte Sword - Partner, Global Head of Human Resources
Oakleaf have always been an outstanding HR recruitment consultancy. They clearly understand what the difference is between general HR skills and being a credible, commercial HR partner plus how good HR people can add real value to an organisation. I always recommend them to candidates and companies I have worked for.
Amita Sandhu, Senior Talent Partner: EMEA at AIG
Richard's knowledge of the market for the role we were recruiting is very in-depth and from the start, we benefited in terms of shaping the role and the brief. He also very quickly got to grips with our culture as an organisation. Where he really adds value is in managing relationships to the level where everyone is comfortable and knows what's expected of them and what will happen next. Cannot recommend him highly enough.
Jo Carr, Head of Resourcing - Thomas Cook
Oakleaf provided a great candidate experience - the human element always mattered. Richard and Angela were always responsive, supportive - and with good humour. A real pleasure working with Oakleaf.
Judith MacKenzie, Group Head of Reward - Thomas Cook
In today's highly competitive environment what do very busy HR people look for from their external search partner ? Someone that they trust implicitly, that are responsive and most of all deliver great solutions that go above and beyond the search brief that you have provided them with. A partner that knows their market place and the best candidates out there. And then consistently deliver over and over again great talent. Who am I speaking of...Nicola Grimshaw and Richard Colgan at the Oakleaf Partnership.
Campbell Fitch – Global Head of HR at IPSOS
“Oakleaf Partnership did an excellent job for us! They produced a high-quality “long list” of well-qualified candidates in a short period of time in our search for a Global HR Director. From these I was able to select a strong short list for our final decision. The approach of Oakleaf was professional, thoughtful and responsive, and I would definitely recommend them as a company”
Brian Gosschalk - Ipsos, Head of the Office of the Presidents
Richard is a true business partner and is my first point of contact for recruitment of key HR roles, in every speciality. It is my pleasure to recommend him on linked-in. He has excellent knowledge of our organisation and a deep understanding of the market, hallmarked by his consistent and swift delivery of outstanding candidates with relevant experience and strong cultural organisational fit. Richard has high integrity, is proactive and reliable and delivers great results for our organisation. He is personable and a pleasure to work with, building strong relationships with clients and candidates at every level.
Clair Carpenter - BUPA
I have worked with Richard both as a client (when I was looking for my next HR career move) and am currently working with him to source an HR professional for my team. Richard is extremely personable, professional and proficient at what he does. He listens and really knows his subject matter as well as having broader business skills. I would not hesitate to recommend Richard to anyone who wants to hire within the HR arena - he has excellent market intelligence and is a pleasure to work with
Uma Cresswell, Senior HRM - ANZ Bank
I have worked with Richard over the past ten years both at Michael Page and since he started his own business, Oakleaf. One of Richard's key attributes is his direct and open approach and his honest analysis of any given assignment. He is clearly in touch with the market and provides access to high calibre candidates that are consistently right for the assignment that he has been given. From a candidates point of view you will get direct and honest assessment of your own suitability for a role or a company culture.
David Peach - Head of HR - NYSE Euronext
Oakleaf really understand our business needs and in working in partnership with them, I have been delighted with the quality and calibre of the talent that they have found for me. The passion and professionalism that the team at Oakleaf possess is reflected in those people that I have met and hired. A true testament to the quality and standards that Oakleaf not strife for, but sustain at all times.
Anita Mattison, HR Director
Richard has incredible drive to deliver results balanced with an appreciation of the issues surrounding making sound career moves, both from a candidate and employer perspective.
Sarah Malone, Head of Reward & Performance - Integrated Supply & Trading, BP plc
During the time I have known Richard I have come to completely trust his honest guidance re my career. Richard is smart, commercial and honest. He listens to you and then he uses his extensive network and delivers options for you. Richard cares, works hard and delivers. He is also great fun.
Sarah Clark, Head of Organisational Effectiveness - Lloyds Banking Group
Richard is a very credible and personable individual who's success is largely based on his personal networks and contacts - an essential requirement for all headhunters. As a source of information on the market, roles, or candidates, Richard is always ahead of the game
Steve Dyke - Head of Global Resourcing - Rolls Royce
Richard is a delight to work with, from both perspectives of client and candidate. His in-depth knowledge and expertise of the search industry, as well as the HR profession, his commitment and professionalism, all tied up with his great sense of humour, makes him one of the best search professionals you could choose to work with.
Karen Hood – Head of HR Shared Service, Gala Coral Group, March 2010