UK business and IT consultancy Waterstons expands North of the border

18 October 2017

UK business and IT consultancy Waterstons has opened its first office in Scotland, as it eyes further growth and expansion. Meanwhile, the firm has appointed IT management veteran Ricky Milliken as Regional Head.

Waterstons provides IT solutions across multiple sectors, including higher education, manufacturing, transport and professional services. The firm was established in 1994 and is a UK-wide Business and IT consultancy with its headquarters in the North East of England and offices in Glasgow and London. This year, Waterstons was shortlisted in the Gold Employer of the Year (50-249 employees) category at the Investors in People Awards 2017 – with winners to be announced in November – and with the demand for technological and digital consulting continuing to be the fastest growing feature of the UK consulting industry, the group is aiming for further expansion.

Now, the Durham-headquartered business and IT consultancy Waterstons has expanded its presence to the North of Hadrian’s Wall, opening its first office in Scotland. The company has worked with numerous high-profile clients in Scotland for more than a decade, and as it seeks to further expand its Scottish client-base, the group opened the doors to their new space on the M8 corridor, between Glasgow and Edinburgh in September 2017. The firm, which employs 130 people across the UK, has wasted no time in making three key appointments for the new outfit, and is currently in the process of recruiting more employees for its base at Regus Eurocentral, Maxim Park, Motherwell.

Susan Bell - Ricky Milliken and Allistair McLeod - Waterstons

Ricky Milliken, who spent the previous 6 years as a Professional Services Manager at Capita, has been appointed Regional Head for Scotland, and will be leading the Waterstons team. Milliken boasts more than 17 years’ experience in IT management, having previously also worked at technology companies Sx3 and Northgate IS in that time.

Having only joined the company four months ago, the new Regional Head said, “It’s the company values, capability and ambition of Waterstons that really resonated with me. We have a very efficient and professional business-focused outlook, offering technology as an enabler to maximise real business outcomes and benefits… We’ve been leading business transformation, solving business problems and helping clients to generate a real return on their technology investment right across the UK for 23 years. The move to open a dedicated office in Scotland demonstrates our commitment to our existing Scottish clients and provides a fantastic opportunity to grow both our business and our team.”

Milliken is joined at the new locale by Sally Edgar, who has been appointed as Senior Transformation Consultant, and Cosmin Argatu has relocated from Waterstons’ HQ to take up a position as Bespoke Consultant in the office. It is expected that a further four or five people will be based at the Scotland office initially, with the firm aiming for this figure to grow to 30-50 within the following five years.

Commenting on how the new office fits into the long-term goals of the organisation, CEO Susan Bell said, “We have been in business for almost a quarter of a century, and these are very exciting times for Waterstons. We’re an ambitious company with a strong desire to use technology to ultimately improve their performance, and we’re hoping to be able to increase the number of employees significantly over the next few years by strengthening the relationships we already have and building new ones.”

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Newcastle consulting firm opens Baghdad office

05 April 2019

A Newcastle-based consultancy has announced it will open its first office in Iraq. The news comes despite warnings that the area remains “high risk” for businesses.

16 years after the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the nation remains a shadow of its former self. The continued chaos wrought by the Iraq War – which eventually played a role in the rise to prominence of Daesh, further destabilising the region – means that even now, the nation’s capital is deemed to have the lowest quality of living in the world. According to a recent survey from Mercer, Baghdad ranked last overall – immediately below Bangui of the Central African Republic and Damascus in Syria – despite the other two being determined as the worst cities on the planet for personal safety.

However, as with the wider Middle East, the oil-rich state presents a lucrative destination to businesses willing to take the risk. To that end, a Newcastle recruitment consultancy has announced the opening of its first presence in Iraq’s capital city. Samuel Knight has taken the decision to open its Baghdad locale in order to grow its business in the Middle East.

Newcastle consulting firm opens Baghdad office

While businesses remain wary of the region, Samuel Knight specialises in recruiting talent in the energy and rail sectors, and in a release it said the new office would continue to focus on these areas. It will also allow the firm to make sure it abides by local compliance laws. The new location will be headed up by Haider Kadhim, Samuel Knight’s Iraq country manager, who will work as the first point of contact for clients and candidates. Representatives from the Department of Trade Industry are expected to attend a launch event for the office, which will be held this month.

Commenting on the new office,  a spokesperson for Samuel Knight said, “We probably don’t see it as a risk, but more of an opportunity, as we operate in the Middle East extensively already. We have contacts in place in the country location and with the consultants we have. We felt it was a great opportunity to expand into a country we are already doing work in. It means we have an on-the-ground team to help our clients. From our perspective, it is that we are looking to expand into new territories, but we are also supporting countries that are starting to redevelop after years of warfare.”

Steve Rawlingson, CEO at Samuel Knight, said, “Our aggressive five-year growth plan is manifesting at  an impressive rate, taking the company to exciting new territories. The team is working diligently to surpass expectations set out in the plan, and to ensure Samuel Knight is cemented as the leading global energy and rail recruitment specialist. Our Baghdad office will give us a distinctive edge over our competition and allow for more exciting business opportunities. Once the office becomes more established and client acquisition develops, we will certainly be adding more consultants and manpower in the city.”