Pride, praise and prizes: the Leon effect

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Being the CEO of ARM sometimes makes me feel like I have an extra child. And I mean that affectionately.

I was there to see the company take its first steps, there to watch it grow and there to swell with pride as it repeatedly performed at the top of its class. It’s something that I care immensely deeply about, naturally. You can imagine, therefore, how I feel about our people, particularly those who have been with ARM for a long time.

A respected leader

There have been a lot of changes in the business over the last 12 months or so – coinciding with the promotion of Leon Howgill to ARM Managing Director. Leon started with the business back in 2000 as an IT consultant, and worked his way through the ranks, evolving into an assured expert, a consummate professional and a respected leader.

Picture, then, how pleased I was when, at nearly 11pm on 3 May, Leon was announced as winner of Agency Recruitment Leader of the Year at the prestigious Recruiter Awards. Naturally, everyone at our table yelled with delight, and as Leon made the very long walk from our table to the stage to collect his award, I felt a bit like a proud dad (despite the fact that he’s marginally older than me!).

Discovering afterwards that many of our staff were similarly following the award results on social media and cheering for their MD, it struck me just how highly regarded Leon is considered by the whole business – not just to the leadership team. The sheer amount of well-wishes he’s received since are evidence of that.

Good people

ARM’s whole philosophy is based on the importance of having good people around you in the workplace. In Leon, we’re lucky enough to have not only an ambassador to represent the brand in the industry, but also someone who remains approachable, who pioneers and steers exciting change, and is always happy to send himself up for the sake of charity or our Twitter feed.

Leon’s win is testament to everything that he’s been doing this year and demonstrates that we’re on the right track. For this to be recognised and celebrated in front of our peers is massive; it cements Leon’s position as a credible industry leader and is hugely advantageous for the brand. 

The Recruiter Award judges praised Leon for ‘leading a phenomenal success story of turning around the business’. They lauded his ‘investment in future talent’ through setting up the Apprenticeship Academy. They acknowledged how it was his commitment to technology – and not to pressurising staff – that helped ARM regain its foothold. Suffice to say, they were seriously impressed.

Leon’s reaction? “I can’t believe I’ve won!”

Leon’s reaction the next day? “I still can’t believe I won!”

Coming of age

There are exciting times ahead. With Leon championing our partnership with Feefo, leading the implementation of technological innovations and continuing to empower his people to fulfil their potential, I can say with full confidence that ARM has really come of age. We’re approaching our 21st birthday, after all – which is enough to make any father feel both gratified and relieved that they can at last have a rest (just six weeks or so!).

We may have had some challenges during our teenage years (who doesn’t?) but after a little maturing, we’re now clear about what ARM is and more importantly, what it isn’t – and Leon was instrumental in shaping that.

He won’t mind me sharing this: after his win, Leon’s children made a sign that read: “Well done dad, you are the don, I love you,” which I know will have made him extremely chuffed. So as one proud dad to another, congratulations Leon.