B4RN - Broadband for Rural North Ltd

Chief Executive Officer - Telecomms Headhunters

The Business:

4RN was launched in December 2011 by a local volunteer group led by industry expert Barry Forde. Registered as a Community Benefit Society, it can never be bought by a commercial operator and its profits can only be distributed to the community or used to expand the network.

The business relied heavily on volunteers in the past but has now evolved to a more traditional employee/ contractor model, which the new CEO can develop further to help the company achieve its plans for rapid expansion.

In addition, B4RN realised that whilst it needed to maintain a strong community engagement, a new CEO who would bring a more commercial focus would enhance the change from what had begun as an exclusively volunteer-based organisation into a social enterprise run as a successful business.

The Challenge:

Cultural fit was a key requirement for the incoming CEO. As a social enterprise, the organisation required someone who was good at managing multiple stakeholders (including volunteers).

Most businesses of a similar size in this sector are private equity organisations, so the culture of those organisations tend to be very different, with a greater focus on quick growth rather than community building.

Our client required the successful candidate to be based from their offices in Melling in the Lune Valley, north east of Lancaster. This was an attraction for some candidates but more of a challenge for others.

Our Solution:

We undertook an in-depth search, casting a broad net across the whole UK, despite the location challenge. We often find candidates are open to relocation for the right opportunity so we were keen not to limit the search purely based on the location factor.

In addition. to address the cultural aspects, every candidate completed a detailed psychometric assessment. This provided the insight to each individual's personality and characteristics which helped to determine their likely cultural fit.

Identifying the Candidate:

We provided B4RN with an initial longlist of 78 candidates. Following a rigorous screening and interview process, we then whittled this down to a short list of 4 strong candidates for the client to interview.

Simply Bringing the Right People Together:

This resulted in the successful appointment of an individual who had excellent experience with a strong background. In particular, the successful candidate had really strong people and project management skills, which were critical elements for the CEO role. In addition, they were an excellent fit in terms of personality and culture.