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Executive recruitment that’s a cut above

When synthetic diamond developer Dyman Advanced Materials sought to appoint a chair to support its next growth phase, it turned to recruitment and outsourced talent services provider Jackson Hogg. Working closely with Dr Gary Gibson, Dyman’s founder and chief executive, and the firm’s wider team, Jackson Hogg employed its Executive Search service to secure a high-profile shortlist that eventually saw former Deloitte senior partner David Wilkinson welcomed to the role. Here, Steven Hugill speaks to Dr Gibson and Jon Carlile, Jackson Hogg Executive Search managing consultant, to find out more.

To be successful in business requires crystal-clear focus and equally sharp instinct around making the right move at the right time.

As the developer behind a new process to make next generation synthetic diamonds, Dyman Advanced Materials is particularly well acquainted with the former.

So too, though, is it well versed in the latter.

With significant angel investment having catalysed much technological and operational progress over the last 12 months – which could see some products enter the marketplace this year – the company has now bolstered its human capital.

Seeking an experienced financial figure to support the next phase of its evolution, the firm – based at NETPark, in Sedgefield, County Durham – recently welcomed ex-Deloitte senior partner David Wilkinson as chair.

The appointment, says Dr Gary Gibson, Dyman founder and chief executive, is a sign of noticeable intent, with David’s vast knowledge from time in Deloitte’s Newcastle office, coupled with his ongoing role as Cavu Corporate Finance chair, providing the diamond maker with a new edge.

He says: “We are very strong on the technology and operational sides, but wanted to expand the board and bring in some extra skills.

“We wanted someone with really in-depth financial experience, with expertise in areas such as mergers and acquisitions, that they could bring to discussions and strategy guidance – and we found that person in David.

“It’s a real sign of how far we have come as a start-up to attract someone of his calibre,” adds Dr Gibson, who reveals David’s arrival takes Dyman’s team to five – with another recruit soon to follow.

And he says the guidance of David – who also holds non-executive directorial roles with Thought Consultancy and Merit Holdings – will be invaluable as Dyman continues to develop its products, thanks to financial backing worth around £1.2 million from angel investors over the last 12 months.

He says: “We’ve finished our first proof of concept and are working on some productization.

“We also closed a big angel round at the beginning of the year – the investors have been amazingly supportive – and have a second proof of concept on a different product line.

“All of this work will be transformative for the company, and having someone like David will help us prepare for that growth.

“We are bringing a new technology to market that lets us make synthetic diamonds in a much cheaper and energy efficient way than competitors. 

“That is good for the environment, but it also means we can compete internationally where they might have cheaper electricity or wage costs. 

“And with David on board, we have that extra experience to plan well in advance.”

David’s arrival was fuelled, in no small part, by Newcastle and Teesside-based recruitment and outsourced talent services provider Jackson Hogg, which employed its industry-renowned Executive Search provision to secure a shortlist of candidates.

Channelling the firm’s in-depth knowledge and expertise across the science, technology, engineering and manufacturing (STEM) sectors, Jackson Hogg Executive Search uses its domestic and international reach to match directors, non-executives and C-level leaders to the unique experience, skill and cultural requirements of a company. And Dr Gibson says Dyman was further aided by Jackson Hogg’s attentiveness to the organisation, with both chief operating officer Anthony Broadhead and Executive Search managing consultant Jon Carlile taking great time to understand its ethos and growth ambitions.

He says: “We looked at a number of organisations to help us, because it was a big search and we wanted to get it right.

“Jackson Hogg came recommended, and they really impressed from the outset, from the personal attention they gave us as a company, to their attitude in terms of listening very carefully to what we were looking for.

“Jon came to see us and spent a lot of time explaining his approach to recruitment but also the culture of Jackson Hogg’s business, and how that passes over into what they do for clients.

“They had a refreshing approach, from the way they introduced themselves, to the service they provided; they were very informative, with very little pressure and were good to work with.

“Jackson Hogg delivered exactly what they said they would do.”

Dr Gibson adds: “Jon worked really hard, and very quickly got a number of outstanding candidates to the table – which is the kind of service you want.

“We were over the moon with David.

“But in addition to David, there were some other extremely strong candidates.

“And that says a great deal about Jackson Hogg’s network and the calibre of people it is able to put forward for roles.”

Reflecting on the support provided to Dyman, Jon says: “It was a genuine pleasure to have successfully supported Gary and the team in recruiting an outstanding chair. 

“In David, we have secured one of the most respected and sought-after executives in the region, someone whose knowledge and experience will be invaluable in guiding the next stage of the business’ growth.

“The Executive Search offering at Jackson Hogg has grown significantly, securing key hires for STEM businesses both in the region and farther afield. 

“Our outstanding search capability, coupled with our relationship-led approach, has given Jackson Hogg a real competitive advantage in the executive recruitment space. 

“And the appointment of David further demonstrates our ability to build successful and complementary boards.

“We look forward to continuing our relationship with Dyman, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for this innovative and exciting North East business.”

Jackson Hogg
To find out more about how Jackson Hogg’s Executive Search support can help your business recruit high-level professionals, and to learn more about its wider programme of bespoke outsourced talent services and HR Partnerships, visit, email [email protected] or call 0191 580 0495.