In the space of just over 15 years, Six Degrees Executive has grown from a small start-up founded by three recruiters looking to do things differently, to a $20 million business with 70+ staff across Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. This growth journey has been made possible by our investment in our people and by ensuring that our evolution continues to align with the founding values first established in 2004.
The early years
In 2004, three recruitment experts working in a large international firm saw an opportunity to do things differently. Nick Hindhaugh, Paul Hallam and David Braham came together with a determination to break the rules of big recruitment. Together, they launched a start-up called Six Degrees Executive, which prioritised a personalised, relationship-based approach over big-business, transactional recruitment.
Growing to a team of eight people, the co-founders quickly outgrew the 100m2 office space, furnished with fancy IKEA desks in St Kilda Road, Melbourne. Within 15 months they were forced to break the lease and move across the street to an office double the size.
By 2007, shockwaves were rumbling through economies around the world as the Global Financial Crisis began to bite. Six Degrees Executive weathered the storm by staying true to the values the business was founded upon. By continuing to invest in the training and development of their people, Six Degrees came through the GFC unscathed, expanding to Sydney and growing to 22 people by 2009.
Growth and expansion
The relationships built by the team continued to bear fruit as the owner-operated business experienced stable growth in both Victoria and New South Wales. Five staff bought into a newly-created Employee Equity Plan in 2011, showing their belief in Six Degrees and its future. A re-brand was commissioned in 2013 to better represent the growing company (now with 37 people), resulting in our current logo.
By 2015, Six Degrees’ growth up-ticked to a new level. After doubling in revenue and size (to 50 staff), the company progressed to its next phase with corporatisation and succession planning to guarantee a long-term, sustainable business. Paul Hallam was appointed the first CEO, the Employee Equity Plan was expanded, and state directors and a chairperson were appointed. 2015 saw Six Degrees establish marketing and HR functions, and the Executive Search and Talent Consulting business were set up to offer clients a complete service.
Building for the future
Expanding into Brisbane in 2017 completed Six Degrees’ coverage of the Eastern states. 2019 saw new horizons with the appointment of long-term employee and Equity Shareholder Suzie McInerney as CEO, and revenue growth of 40%. With over 80 staff across three states, Six Degrees embarked on a three-year strategy and investment in a robust corporate services function to enable future growth.
Today, Six Degrees Executive is moving into exciting new areas of digitally-enabled recruitment to unlock better service and a differentiated optimised customer experience. A succession plan for future leadership and a group structure has been established to make the business less reliant on its original founders.
A values-led organisation
As Six Degrees Executive continues to evolve, the secret to our success lies in our ability to stay true to the founding principles, purpose, and values established over 15 years ago.