Northcliffe Media is one of the largest regional newspaper publishers in the UK, producing around 250 local newspapers. When chief information officer David Henderson joined Northcliffe in November 2005 the 200-strong IT team was dispersed across 17 different offices from Truro to Aberdeen. Henderson set about trying to centralise IT in Leicester, with a second hub in Exeter.
He approached Harvey Nash to help him recruit a new cadre of heavyweight IT people who were experienced in running big national systems and had strong change management and transformation skills. He asked Harvey Nash to recruit six senior people for roles across IT networks, architecture, development and management.
“We needed people with the right cultural as well as technical fit,” says Henderson. “The people Harvey Nash recruited who, in addition to their technical skills, were media savvy and able to both work hard and play hard, have been the biggest success: they have really complemented the team.”
Henderson knew Harvey Nash well, having worked with them in three separate roles over the previous eight years. He briefed them in February and the assignment, which comprised a mix of national newspaper advertising, candidate search and job boards, was completed in November. Henderson rates the Harvey Nash account management team very highly. He explains: “They understand the business thoroughly – not just the technical aspects, but the culture too.
During the assignment they were almost part of my team. I explained the IT strategy, plans, activities and challenges and they articulated them perfectly to potential candidates. We have a good long-term partnership based on empathy and understanding, and the service Harvey Nash delivers is very professional and well managed. We use them on an ongoing basis: they are a preferred supplier for all our IT recruitment.”
As a result of the assignment, Henderson has effected a smooth and gradual transition from a decentralised to a centralised IT operation.