Founder & CEO - Aardent & SOWaaS®
Below is a brief bio of our founders experience in creating, delivering and executing all things project, service and SOW oriented.
Along with contributing to the blogs on our site, Stuart has written many articles and blogs for the recruitment industry and our partners. He is happy to discuss and connect with likeminded people and businesses who are interested in how the future of working is firmly moving in the direction of outcomes over output.
Stuart can be contacted via:
I ‘entered’ the recruitment industry in 2012 when I was headhunted to create and lead a new business division for the largest UK contractor/contingency agency, part of the top three largest global staffing organisation. My core remit was to significantly increase profitability and tenure. Out of courtesy, I will not name any business within this document however, you can easily check my profile on LinkedIn if you wish.
Prior to the recruitment sector, I was working as the European Professional Services Leader for a Global IT Services business running their services arm, I spent a significant amount of time operating across Europe and the US. Our European business was servicing HP and IBM with specific expertise/skills in their operations across Europe. Whilst our core business was that of IT Services, most of what we did was human-centric – placing people into operations to deliver outcomes against a defined set of requirements, also known as, SOW.
My formative career was deeply entrenched in Technology and Consulting. I was certified as an industry expert in a specific field of advanced networking and often provided thought leadership across cloud and infrastructure areas. During this time, I progressed from deeply technical to commercial and leadership within Consulting and Professional Services. I led both pre-sales and sales functions and enjoyed helping customers find comfort in our solutions.
I was hired into my initial role in recruitment due to this technology background. The business wanted to step deeply into the Networking and Infrastructure space and thus required an expert on hand. I recognised this approach would not be the optimal route due to the majority of our clients and candidates not operating in this area. We would not only have to build capability with candidates but also find new logo business clients too – a double challenge.
The division we established (called Project Solutions) went on to provide a successful array of engagements (spreading operations across several European countries and working closely with the US), ranging from cyber security through to HR systems transformation, all of which built upon the already established contingent workforce. We adopted an approach of understanding and capturing requirements which we in-turn positioned our contractors into and added additional reporting accountability, behaviours and control.
I learned a great deal in this 3+ year tenure, mainly around the value of recruitment in project requirements (one cannot run a project without the right people) and the culture of recruitment being fast paced, competitive but highly rewarding.
My next couple of roles were operating in an advisory management consulting capacity, specifically building and improving human capital and professional services deployments.
After 12 months, I joined the global staffing leader (at the time) where I was charged with a similar remit to that of my first role in recruitment: to create, lead and up-skill the business to deliver more valuable, outcome-based services. This business was significantly larger than my first industry company and so a whole host of new challenges were introduced. My initial tenure was shorter than planned (12 months) due to significant UK board leadership changes so I decided to leave after being headhunted by a boutique recruitment provider for an interim assignment – to create their consulting solutions business.
After the short interim assignment, I re-joined my prior company (the global leader) to reignite the business which had stalled following my departure. It was around this time I decided the future for recruitment was firmly in this space and established Aardent with a view to helping the industry more broadly. Following the completion of my 8-month interim assignment I left and went full time into Aardent.
Since stepping into Aardent full time in early 2019 I have never been busier.
In two years as Aardent CEO I have personally advised, guided and evolved over 25 recruitment businesses into the SOW space. I have provided ad-hoc advisory services to dozens of other recruitment organisations and up-skilled/educated 100’s of recruitment leaders and sales professionals into this ‘new world.’ Due to my experience in SOW, service creation and doing it properly – I have also been tasked with transforming IR35 engagements for companies who wish to undertake SOW solutions. As such, I have guided household brands to deliver these frameworks properly and often liaised with Big 4 Consultancies to provide my view on proceedings.
Early into my Aardent journey, I realised the future was firmly all things SOW for myself (and the industry we served). There needed to be an easier way for businesses to evolve and offer these SOW services.
As a result, I decided to invest in developing an industry dedicated piece of technology, designed with one audience and market in mind – recruitment / staffing. With one clear goal in mind: to evolve recruitment.
The platform we developed is called SOWaaS® – Statement of Work as a Service. SOWaaS® was built to service and support recruitment & staffing businesses by providing a complete end-to-end workspace that would up-skill and guide users through capturing, creating, validating and managing every aspect of SOWs.
I am still an evangelist. I am passionate about the future of recruitment and I firmly believe it lies in the sphere of providing outcome-based talent through SOWs.