First Freelance continues to drive new frontiers with new CEO appointment

We’re pleased to announce the appointment of First Freelance’s new chief executive officer, Doug Crawford. Doug has taken over the leadership of First Freelance, which is part of the Optionis Group, from Derek Kelly, who has retired after 10 years with the company.

He has taken up the role after leaving Leicester-based conveyancing firm My Home Move, where he spent seven years as the company’s CEO, turning it into the clear market leader in this sector.

With a career spanning more than 25 years, Doug brings with him extensive experience of working with professional and financial services businesses in the UK, helping to develop, implement and oversee strategic growth plans.

The change in leadership marks the beginning of the next chapter for First Freelance, the leading provider of specialist accountancy services for contractor and freelancers. The firm, as part of the award-winning professional services provider, Optionis Group, is backed by private equity specialist Sovereign Capital Partners.

As well as putting people management at the forefront of the company’s business strategy, the new CEO is looking to invest in new technologies to meet and support the needs of the modern flexible workforce.

With ever-changing legislation across the industry, the firm’s commitment to leading the way in compliance and expertise will be a cornerstone under Doug’s leadership.

Doug said: “I’m thrilled to join First Freelance, and the Optionis Group, at such an exciting time, with the company currently going from strength-to-strength. It’s already clear that Derek has left a fantastic legacy, both in terms of the company’s financial health as well as its internal culture. I’m excited to take on the challenge of facilitating future growth, while building on the company’s history and heritage as the leading market provider.

“Within any professional services business, I believe people are the key to success, so we plan to continue investing heavily in hiring the very best people. We will also focus on driving new technologies to further augment the level of market-leading service and support we provide to our contractors and business partners across the UK.

“Another part of my role will be to implement strategies that will allow us to deliver on our ambitious growth plans. Progressive thinking, particularly in the ever-changing marketplace, will be key to drive the company even further forward, including strategic acquisitions to strengthen our stable of brands.”

Headquartered in London, First Freelance is part of the Optionis Group, which employs around 600 head office staff and has offices across the UK.


Published on: 14 August 2019 - By: First Freelance

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