Meet our Principals

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Our vision is to be the most respected consultancy to the recruitment sector, as measured by our Members, supporting them in their growth and exit plans.

We are:
  • Ambitious – for Elite and all of our Members
  • Industry proud and passionate – we are steeped in the industry and care hugely about its reputation and success
  • Collaborative – our Principals, Experts and Members share and support each other
  • Loyal – we create long term relationships with our Members and Partners
  • Experts – we have all done the job, grown businesses and succeeded. We mix with the right people

John, Jeff, Midge, Tara and Sid have 130 years’ experience in our industry and are there to call on as part of your membership.

John O’Sullivan


John is an entrepreneur with a leadership background in staffing and recruitment. Having worked as a director for several of the top global staffing companies, he founded Best International Group which grew to £130million turnover in 18 months before selling to Spring Group in 2003.

As Chairman of Elite and Principal of Elite XL, John is now NED and strategic adviser to several carefully selected companies in the recruitment sector.

John specialises in achieving rapid and sustainable growth, both organic and by acquisition, in people related businesses, thereby maximising shareholder value.

John’s specialties include:

Mergers and acquisitions, fund raising, IPO, Corporate governance, Fast-track growth strategies, corporate finance, exit strategy, IPO, leadership development, training, recruitment, executive search, staffing, NED, non executive director, NXD, APSCo, entrepreneur, human resources.

Sid Barnes


An industry award winning Executive and NED with 23 years Professional Staffing experience, spanning S3, Adecco, Cordant, Mastermind Consulting. He is an APSCo Affiliate Member and was Managing Director of Adecco’s IT, Engineering and Telecommunications Professional Staffing business spanning UK and Europe, growing to 400 Staff, £280m Revenue, £45m NFI and £20m Profit.

Whilst Managing Director of Professional Staffing at Cordant Group he led their acquisition and integration strategy. Sid sold his first business in 2002 and has since grown, bought and sold businesses. As CEO of Mastermind Consulting, he currently advises 18 SME Professional Staffing businesses on Strategy, Operational Excellence, Leadership, Wealth Creation. Sid has a degree in Psychology and is an NLP Master Practitioner.

Sid’s specialities include:

Strategy, Target Operating Models, Leadership, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Cultural Re-engineering, Sales Excellence, NED, Options and Exit Strategies.

Jeff Brooks


Jeff has been working in the private and public sectors since 1970. After 14 years in the IT industry, he entered the recruitment sector in 1984. He built two recruitment agencies from scratch – Gresham Computer Personnel and Amdahl Resources International, with one taken to a stock market listing and the other disposed of in a planned trade sale.

Since 2006 Jeff has helped over 150 recruitment owners develop their businesses through advice and strategic development in a very hands-on way. In the last five years he has run a Financial Services Agency as interim MD and an Automotive Engineering Agency as interim Head of Recruitment, maintaining his own expertise through day to day leadership.

In 2012 Jeff was presented with a lifetime achievement award by the REC for services to the Recruitment industry.

Jeff’s areas of expertise include:

Sales performance management and improvement, business planning, M and A strategies, MSP/RPO, Managing Proposals and tenders and presentation techniques.

Tara Ricks
Tara is a highly experienced recruitment leader with over 20 years experience across professional sectors. She has a proven track record in leading and growing successful sales teams, developing strategy and driving new business lines and markets. Tara developed and managed, as Managing Director, award winning finance recruiter Joslin Rowe Associates where she was instrumental in growing the business to become the largest privately owned recruiter in the field of financial services, at the time of sale to Randstad in 2008. Tara is skilled in recruitment markets covering Professional Services, Financial Services, Interim, Legal, and Finance.
Tara’s areas of expertise include:

Permanent, Interim, Contract and Temporary markets; RPO/MSP; Master Vend; Strategic Leadership; Change; Staffing; Professionals.

Midge Bennett

With over 25 years in the recruitment and staffing sector, Midge now loves running the Elite Future Leaders member groups, helping develop the next generation of leaders for the recruitment sector.

With board level experience in larger corporates, SMEs and start-ups, Midge has launched recruitment companies and brands, managed sales operations of up to 100 staff and been involved in an IPO and the raising of finance to support an acquisition strategy.

His focus now is to help ambitious recruitment and business owners grow their companies and achieve their goals.

Midge’s key experiences are:

Building and growing recruitment businesses, setting and executing sales strategies, marketing, and developing successful employer brands.

Sue Evans
Sue is responsible for the running of Elite Leaders operations including event organisation for Elite Future Leaders, Elite Leaders and Elite XL programmes, finance and customer service delivery.

Sue began her career working for an American bank in the City providing extensive management and support to the various directors and departments.

Sue has worked across a number of sectors ranging from medical, finance, construction and recruitment with companies such as BOC Group, CoreStates Bank, Alfred McAlpine plc and Recruitment Training Productions.


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