Joining the company 5 years ago as CFO with 30 years finance experience, Ian Ketchin has had an immense impact on the growth and development of ICG at a global level.
Heading into the next chapter of his life, it is with great sadness that we wish him well in retirement. Coming to the close of his journey, we asked Ian to share a few highlights of his experience with ICG.
Being a finance director for publicly listed businesses, as well as private equity owned businesses prior to joining the team, Ian says the pace at ICG is far faster than any of those – which has been exciting. Ian adds that at ICG, decision-making is much faster, and he enjoyed being able to do things quickly without the bureaucracy you often get in other businesses.
Joining the company at a time where the business only had clients in England and Wales, it has been an exciting journey watching the business grow and develop. When starting at ICG, the market was volatile, and in a state where price caps had come, which put healthcare recruiters under a lot of pressure. At the same time there were big changes in the way nurses were paid, which caused uncertainty in the market and put even more pressure on the business.
A strategy was put in place to invest overseas to reduce reliance on the NHS and dependence on England. This led to the business opening in both Australia and USA in 2017. The UK market pressures resulted in numbers going down, which made it challenging to keep investing overseas.
As Chief Finance Officer, Ian’s role was to make sure the company had the funding to do what they needed to do. After many cost-cutting exercises to adjust to the revenue stream, the company changed finance partners in August 2019 and managed to find a forward-thinking lender who understood the business and looked for solutions.
The business had finally regained forward momentum, and then Covid struck - leading almost overnight to a big drop in bookings. This was a major challenge, says Ian. Fortunately, the investments came good just at the right time and even presented some opportunities you wouldn’t expect a pandemic to bring.
As much as Ian’s role was about managing spend and cash flow, it equally involved looking at recovery. It was the balance between cutting costs, and at the same time being ready for take-off and having enough staff. So, challenging as it was, ICG chose not to cut its headcount when COVID came along. Rapid growth can be as much of a challenge as is shrinking when it comes to funding, Ian adds. This is due to our business model and how we pay nurses, in comparison to when clients pay us.
Apart from having a hand in all of the regions, Ian also had the opportunity to do a lot more forward-looking than he had in the past – meaning he could focus on what to do in a year or 2 years’ time to develop the business.
A big highlight for Ian within his journey with ICG, was closing the deal on new financing which was put in place in 2019. “This was a real highlight because we needed it so much at the time, and we found a finance partner that really suited the business” says Ian.
As for Ian’s replacement, we are delighted to welcome Olivia Plews into the new role. Being with the company for 8 years, and currently the UK finance director, she is the perfect fit for the job. Still working closely with Ian, we wish her well on the next step in her journey.
When asking Ian to provide some insight into the last 5 years with the business, he said, “The best thing about the business is that everybody is very much a team and work together as a team, which is vital to any business”. One of ICG’s values include family, and Ian adds that the company is very much like a family, and it shows through any part of the business. “It’s a fast-paced business and it’s good to know you can rely on your colleagues”.
From 3 offices across 3 countries in June 2017 to 15 offices in 11 countries over 5 continents today, the ICG business has grown substantially.
“ICG is a very exciting, fast-moving business that operates in many markets around the world. There is significant growth and many opportunities. ICG is also a very supportive business, and I would definitely recommend them as an employer of choice”.
Lastly, we want to thank Ian for his substantial contribution to the ICG family. We are honoured to have had you as part of our team for 5 years and for your devoted service to the company. All the best on your new journey, you will be missed!