Yorkshire based leadership consultancy receives six figure investment

06 September 2017 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read
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Leadership and governance solutions firm Real World Group has received a six figure investment from one of Yorkshire’s most prolific entrepreneurs. Rachel Hannan, whose undisclosed sum sees her become the firm’s new Chair, is one of the region’s most active Angel Investors with investments across a variety of sectors including healthcare and education. 

Real World Group was established in 2001, growing out of the University of Leeds as a spin-off company in that year. The consultancy conducts academic-quality research, and distributes leadership & governance diagnostic tools in 17 countries in multiple languages including Mandarin Chinese, Russian, German, French-Canadian while working with the public, private and third sectors indiscriminately. In the past, this has seen the professional services firm partner with organisations such as Shell, TATA, the NHS and the Australian Institute of Company Directors, while the company’s Founding Director, Professor Beverly Alimo-Metcalfe, has been an expert guest a number of times on BBC Radio 4. Real World Group is presently run by Alimo-Metcalfe’s daughter, CEO Juliette Alban-Metcalfe, a Chartered Occupational Psychologist and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Centre for Sustainable Business and Enterprise, University of Southern Queensland.

Among their successes, organisations in a variety of sectors have described how Real World Group have enabled them to save millions, transformed their culture for the better in only 18 months and joined the Top 20 of the Sunday Times' Best Companies to Work For list. Now, their demonstrable expertise in the development of high performance leaders and boards has attracted considerable investment. As Real World continues to grow, one of Yorkshire’s most prolific entrepreneurs and Angel investors, Rachel Hannan, has added an undisclosed six figure sum in capital to the Leeds-headquartered company. The deal, which sees Rachel take over as Chair, is hoped by both parties to be a mutually beneficial strategic alliance, which will seek to blend Real World’s leadership expertise with Hannan’s executive selection and business skills.

Rachel Hannan and CEO, Juliette Alban Metcalfe

Rachel Hannan previously co-founded GatenbySanderson – a market leading public sector executive search firm – which she sold to become a millionaire aged just 36, successfully exiting after the company achieved a turnover of nearly £24 million in a mere 7 years. Since then she has become one of the region’s most active Angel Investors with investments in the education, medical, technology, food, human capital and recruitment sectors.

Rachel Hannan said of her new challenge as investor and Chair of Real World, “I was impressed with the quality, passion and commitment of the founders. Real World Group is a business which enables me to enhance its value through combining our complementary expertise and experience. Their research is second to none and its evidence based tools have been proven to help businesses and organisations to maximise performance and profit. I’ve been waiting many years to find a business that combines all the areas of work that interest me – not just improving organisational performance, but in the process helping their people realise their potential.”

Juliette Alban-Metcalfe, Chief Executive at Real World Group, added, “We have been known for the excellent results we enable our clients to achieve, our customer service and our research-based tools for many years. However, it’s time to scale up and take it to the next level. We are very excited to have Rachel on board and believe her expertise and passion for what we do will be the key to unlocking our next ambitious growth phase.” 

Through actively harnessing the new synergies brought to the table by Hannan, Real World Group will be launching a new executive selection tool later this year, the Performance Leader Identifier, which promises to "disrupt the market for leadership selection tools" across sectors. Earlier in the year, the 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report from Deloitte noted that most companies do not have a full understanding of the talent they employ, and have not yet pulled together various disciplines into an integrated framework. Solutions from the consulting industry, as suggested by Real World here, could see clients boost efficiency by identifying top talent earlier – something that will become vital to the growth of businesses as identifying areas of inefficiency look to become increasingly important for the growth of profits in future.