First Flight was commissioned by Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Authority to undertake a Board Composition Analysis of the Authority’s trading company, Red One Ltd.  The objective was to identify: the skills the Board required to achieve its objectives; the skills the Board had; and any gaps / areas for Board improvement.  In addition, First Flight was asked to develop a role brief, role description and specification for an independent non-executive director to act as Chair of the Board.

Based on the outcomes of the Board Composition Analysis, First Flight was then commissioned to undertake a search for an independent Chair and an additional non-executive director to address an identified skills gap on the Board.

Throughout the engagement, First Flight worked extremely well with officers and Members (Councillors) of the Authority and with the board of Red One.  As a result of the engagement, two high calibre Non-Executive Director appointments were made, including a new Chair, which demonstrably improved the effectiveness of the Board.

Mike Pearson, Director of Governance & Digital Services, Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service


Oscar Propulsion Ltd is an early stage business whose  patented  PressurePore technology provides radical benefits in fields as diverse as rowing oars, ship propellers and jet turbines. First Flight provided Oscar with our first  four investor-directors  who brought the top-level general management, financial, legal, and commercial skills we needed to make Oscar the success it is becoming. They formed the nucleus of a strong board to which we have subsequently added two further investor/directors (again through First Flight)  with strong Marine backgrounds to help exploit our propeller technology. Our Board is now the highly professional and proficient team we needed to manage and grow the business. 

First Flight has proven to be an excellent source of Board-level talent and investment to Oscar. I can strongly recommend their services.

David Taylor, CEO, Oscar Propulsion Ltd.



The existing Directors of Contacts Engineering made the decision to increase the operational and technical expertise we had at the Board level and we found First Flight’s deep experience pairing NEDs with companies to be second-to-none. As our first outside appointment since acquiring the company, it was critical we selected the right person to join the Board.  Chris at First Flight showed deep understanding of our requirements and guided us through a process that has been a resounding success. Our new Non-Exec Chairman invested alongside the other Directors and has greatly increased both Board level discussions and how we manage Contracts Engineering Ltd.  We have Chris to thank for managing a selection process that led to a perfect pairing and outcome.

Troy Barratt, Managing Director, Contracts Engineering Ltd.




BDB Pitmans LLP is an award winning top 60 UK Law Firm who decided they would benefit from bringing onto their Board their first Independent Non-Executive Director.

BDB Pitmans engaged with First Flight, a specialist Non Exec Search firm, as this was the first time we had appointed a Non Exec. We were looking for the right level of support and guidance to help us through the process and with First Flight’s assistance we drew up a list of specific skills and expertise we were looking for which was someone with a law firm background who had remuneration experience to determine appropriate levels of remuneration for our partners. This would include providing advice in relation to the design and implementation of bonus and long term incentive arrangements.

First Flight provided us with 7 candidates to interview who all met our agreed brief and we appointed a Non-Exec who had been the Managing Partner of Wilde Sapte and had the perfect credentials for what we were looking for plus the right cultural fit. We were very pleased with the professional support and guidance First Flight provided us with.

Danny Smith, Head of HR Resourcing, BDB Pitmans LLP

Women on Boards was delighted to have First Flight's support in recruiting our first independent non-executive directors.  Fiona Driscoll, who was appointed in July, was one of several excellent candidates who heard about the role through First Flight.  Women on Boards encourages organisations to "turn off the spotlight and turn on the floodlights" when recruiting NEDs and First Flight played a key part in enabling us to do just that, by identifying a fabulous new board member who was completely outside our network of contacts.

Rowena Ironside, Chair, Women on Boards

I am delighted to welcome Jan Groen to the Board of Angle. His knowledge and experience of this market will be of significant value to us as we progress the commercialisation of our Parsortix TM liquid biopsy solution. First Flight provided a long list of seven candidates that surprised us with its high quality and relevance, and we would have been pleased to appoint anyone from this list.

Andrew Newland, CEO, Angle plc

We are delighted to be welcoming Gillian as Chairman of the Board. Following a detailed search process, Gillian's relentless focus on business performance, growth and her track record of commercial business successes, coupled with excellent corporate governance skills, was central to the Board's selection decision. We are confident that Gillian will be a valuable asset and counsel to the Group as we continue the execution of our growth strategy.

Stuart Green, Chief Executive, ZOO Digital Group plc

We are delighted to appoint Sophie Tomkins to the Board.  As part of a Corporate Governance review the Board acknowledged that independence and strong Investor relations were skill sets that would complement the overall balance of the Board.

Alun Aubrey, Chairman, Proactis plc

‘The IFoA engaged with First Flight to find a replacement Chair for one of our Boards and we were impressed with the process.  We received an extensive and diverse long-list of candidates who met our criteria and we were pleased to appoint Grahame Stott, a high calibre candidate.’

Sarah Carpenter-Hanson

Head of Human Resources, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries


‘First Flight found us a Non-Executive Director, Mike Higgins, who is brilliant, I've learned a huge amount from him over the years.’

Barnaby Mote, CEO, 4sl Group

‘The high calibre of interviewees meant we were spoilt for choice when it came to appointing our Non-Executive Chairman. We have been greatly impressed by First Flight’s attitude and the truly end-to-end service they provide – even after the role was filled they continue to provide support and guidance to ensure our needs remain met’

Mark Rayner, Managing Director, Firfield Property Services Ltd

‘First Flight delivered exactly what we asked for: a rigorous search process, insightful candidate reports, good value fees, and a high quality shortlist of very appointable NED candidates.’

Patrick Gifford, Chairman, Invesco Perpetual Select Trust PLC

We used First Flight because we wanted a choice of high calibre NED candidates who understood modern Board issues like Data Protection and cyber security - and thats exactly what First Flight gave us.' 

Sian Roberts, CEO, Electoral Reform Services

The choice of who to appoint was very difficult because of the high quality. In addition to appointing a great Chair, First Flight have probably found another Non-Exec we may recruit later. In addition, we may even use another candidate as a consultant.' 

Pete Comley, Founder and Non-Executive Director

I would like to thank you for all your efforts over the last three months in what has been a very successful and painless Non-Exec and Chair search process.' 

Andrew Hartsorn, Managing Director, Easyplan (UK)

Thank you for your help with our Non-Exec Chairman search, you have made the whole process so much easier and we have had an excellent result.' 

Stephen Carr, Chairman, Nominations Committee, Caterforce Group

First Flight Non-Executive Directors quickly grasped what we were looking for in terms of skills and experience, including a useful discussion on how potential successful candidates would fit with the current Board of Directors and support / challenge the senior management team at Spencer Private Hospitals’

Sandra Le Blanc

Chairman, Spencer Private Hospitals

South staffs water

First Flight responded quickly and professionally to our Chair recruitment need.  The support throughout the process through to successful appointment was thorough, swift and presented high calibre of candidates.

Rachel Barber, Customer Service Director, South Staffs Water


I commissioned First Flight to find a non-executive director for Watts PLC, a company I Chair. Despite a tight and demanding specification, First Flight were able to produce a high class short list of candidates by the scheduled time. We selected an excellent candidate who has since joined our board.  Throughout the process I was impressed by First Flight; with their professionalism and ability to deliver on time and with high quality candidates. I would not hesitate to use them again.

Nick Winks, Chairman, Watts Group PLC

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We were reluctant to use our resources to pay for a recruitment agency and we didn't think we would be able to afford it however when we were introduced to First Flight we were immediately and understandably drawn to their approach and as it led to a successful candidate being appointed we felt their fees were not unreasonable.

Graham Whitlock, Chief Executive, Dream Arts


What really struck me was the quality of the First Flight candidates. By the time we got to the shortlist, we had four exceptional candidates and only one Board position available. When we narrowed this down to a final two, the choice was even harder: both candidates would have been a valuable asset for almost any Board and satisfied all our key criteria.

Robert Goddard

Chairman, Hardide PLC

simply health logo

First Flight have provided us with a new Non-Executive Director following two previous Non Execs they provided us with in 2011. Alex Pike is our latest appointment provided by First Flight, this followed their help with an evaluation of the skills we had around the Boardroom table and identifying where we had gaps. Alex brings to the Simplyhealth Board proven customer-first expertise plus strong entrepreneurial marketing and communications expertise, in particular with digital communications. We are delighted with Alex’s appointment and to have another woman on our Board.

Corinne Williams, HR Manager, Simplyhealth


We gave First Flight a sensitive and challenging brief. They delivered quickly and intelligently. I was impressed by the expertise, financial services experience, diversity and all-round calibre of the non-executive director candidates they presented.

Mark Thompson

Chairman, The Holmesdale Building Society


I am delighted to welcome Lorraine Adlam (the NED recruited through First Flight) to the Board. Her appointment will bring considerable experience of the financial and insurance sector to the Company. Having had experience with fast growth companies, Lorraine is ideally placed to help the Company to accelerate its growth and to provide support to the management team.

Simon Richards

Chairman, Red24 PLC

First Flight delivered a comprehensive, thoughtful and professional service, providing high quality, carefully selected and relevant candidates. We have started working with our newly appointed NED, who has been able to make a positive early impact.

Graham Ayres

Managing Director, Weatherbys Ltd

British Friendly

Quality, speed and cost - I was always told you can only have 2 out of 3, but First Flight delivered all three for us; a high quality candidate list, a rapid and efficient process and competitive pricing.

Mark Myers

Chief Executive, British Friendly

Offers Junction

The two Non-Executive Directors supplied by First Flight have been transformational for our technology business - they have brought investment, enthusiastic input and their own contact bases.

Chris McGourty

MD and Founder, Offers Junction


The Chairman we recruited through First Flight Non-Executive Directors has proved a real asset and continues to deliver added value on an almost daily basis. I am very grateful to William Micklethwait and the rest of the First Flight team for their help, professionalism and incisive appraisal of candidates.

Barrie Clatworthy

Managing Director, Carbonlights Solutions Ltd

norrie 2

We asked First Flight to find us a Non Exec who could help us expand into technology and international markets. Norrie Johnston Recruitment is an ambitious and fast growing agency providing permanent and interim senior managers. Clients come to us because they like the fact that we're not just good at recruitment but our team are serious business people too. So we needed someone with an impressive corporate track record and a real understanding of professional services.
We met four experienced and knowledgeable candidates who all met our brief, but one was outstanding, and I am very pleased that he has decided to join our board. We are in the recruitment business ourselves, so we know what good headhunting is all about, and in the specialist field of NED recruitment, First Flight absolutely delivers.

Norrie Johnston

Founder and CEO, Norrie Johnston Recruitment Ltd

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Using First Flight for the first time was a great experience for us.  They took the time to meet and discuss with us in order to clearly understand our needs and the outcome was fantastic.
At every stage of the process they were assessing potential candidates against our requirements to ensure the best fit from a cultural point of view, as well as from a skills and experience perspective.
Our experience with First Flight met our expectations in various aspects of the candidate placement process. We have found First Flight colleagues to have an excellent ability to search identify and match candidates to the role requirements and competencies, which combined with their strong awareness of our culture and brand, adds great value to the partnership

Ian Hilditch

CEO, ETL Systems Ltd

First Flight has a clear value proposition and I liked the way they worked with us to clarify the role specification. For each position we met several strong and viable candidates which meant that the final decisions were not easy, so I was grateful for the way William Micklethwait (First Flight's London Practice Director) supported our team and helped us engage with each candidate. The result is that, with First Flight's help, we have found two very different new Board members who both have the experience and skill-sets we were looking for.

Seamus Creedon

Chairman, Reliance Mutual

This was the first time I had used First Flight so I did not know what to expect. William Micklethwait took full responsibility for the NED search. I found William to be very personable and easy to deal with. The communication was good so I always knew where things were up to. The whole process was well managed and straight forward for me as a client, and importantly the outcome (we wanted) was achieved.

Karen Wilson

CEO, Origin Housing Ltd


I have used several London head-hunters in the past to find Chairmen and Non Execs. First Flight Non-Executive Directors Ltd had an efficient process and produced a strong shortlist that exceeded my own, and the Nominations Committee's expectations. First Flight was less expensive than the more traditional headhunters and provided HSSMI with an excellent Chairman. I would certainly recommend them.

Bill Williams

CEO, CEME and Director of The High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute (HSSMI)

Contracts Engineering

Many thanks for all of your advice and support through the process of finding us a Non-Exec Chairman, We couldn’t be more pleased with the result!

Troy Barratt

Managing Director, Contracts Engineering Limited

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We needed Non Execs with complementary areas of expertise as well as all-round business skills. I am very grateful to First Flight for helping us to find such a knowledgeable and renowned Advisory Board.

Clifton Melvin

Chairman, EcoHydra Technologies Ltd


As a fast growing, Venture Capital-backed company, we need to recruit high-calibre Board members and advisers who can understand our brand, give practical help and strategic guidance to our management team and satisfy the requirements of our VC investors. First Flight have successfully shown that they can find people who can do all that.

Gabriela Vinader

Director, Monica Vinader Ltd

Captive media logo

I was recommended to work with First Flight and I have to say it's been a slick, straightforward and ultimately very successful process. Good understanding of the brief, quick responses and corrections along the way, a good mix of candidates - more than originally promised and some were outstanding - and reasonable charges. I would certainly recommend William Micklethwait and use First Flight again.

Gordon MacSween

CEO, Captive Media Ltd


William Micklethwait (First Flight's London Practice Director) was first referred to us by a trusted partner to help us recruit a new Non-Executive Chairman. William and the rest of the First Flight team provided us with excellent advice, managing the search, shortlisting, interview and selection process very professionally, keeping us up to date, offering timely and appropriate advice along the way just when we needed it. It was almost like William has a sixth sense for what a company like ours is really looking for. The chairman First Flight found for us had exactly the track-record we wanted, and is already making a significant positive contribution to our business. We have already recommended First Flight to others in our network and consider William's expertise part of the unofficial value we can add to our network and clients.

Richard Conner

Managing Director, Assembly Studios Ltd

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I would like to thank First Flight for presenting the Society with such a diverse but high quality shortlist of candidates to choose from. Oliver and Sophie, our two new Non-Executive Directors, will undoubtedly have a very positive effect on the Society's governance.

Mark Goodale

Chief Executive, Reliance Mutual

inteligent mobile logo

We were introduced to First Flight and met with William Micklethwait and found we had a great connection with him as he fully understood our business sector and our requirements. Very quickly, we were given an incredibly strong short-list of Non Exec candidates, all of whom met our brief very well. I was really impressed by the standard of the short-list we were given so quickly. For any business looking for a Non Exec, I would strongly recommend First Flight for its service levels, understanding of the Non Exec market, quality of contacts and value for their fees.

Peter Orr

MD, Intelligent Mobile

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I was very happy with the service I received from First Flight, they produced an excellent long list of CVs in a very short time and the service was professional, straightforward and the bench strength of the candidates they provided was impressive. Their approach makes the process easy and transparent. The Non-Executive Directors they have introduced to Chubb are working out well.

Kevin O'Shiel

Chief Financial Officer, Chubb Insurance Company of Europe S.A


First Flight has shown a great understanding for the needs of our business and have been instrumental in providing us with well qualified NEDs who are making an active contribution to The Business Software Centre. First Flight is unique in providing a highly professional and valuable Non Exec service unrivalled by any other organisation. I would recommend their services to any entrepreneurial business who need to strengthen their Board.

Phil Hames

Director, The Business Software Centre (TBSC)


We are very pleased that First Flight Non Execs has helped us recruit an independent Non Exec of David's stature and reputation. It's been a very professional process.

Nick Dimmock

Managing Director, Solar 350 Ltd

massive logo

First Flight did an excellent job for us in finding us NEDs with the experience, expertise, technical knowledge and commitment that we needed. I am extremely pleased that we decided to use First Flight.

George Frangou

CEO, Massive Analytic Ltd

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