Spotlight On... Steve Ingham, chief executive, Michael Page International

The serious chap who's top dog at the jobs giant?

Steve Ingham first joined Michael Page in 1987 as a consultant after quitting science. He has a BSc in metallurgy and materials science from Nottingham University.

Mr Ingham's first job was a graduate trainee at Johnson Matthey, but he shed the white coat for the materials giant's sales and marketing department after "quickly deciding that the labs were not for me". That's what led to a move to Michael Page, where the recruiter was busy diversifying from the finance sector.

A job well done?

A string of quick promotions saw Mr Ingham made operating director, managing director of marketing and sales, and head of the UK division in May 2005, before taking over as chief executive of what he calls "the world's most impressive professional recruitment company" in March 2006.

The chief executive likes to point out that when he started as a recruitment consultant 25 years ago, its profit was less than £1m. Yesterday it posted a pre-tax profit, up 19 per cent on the previous year, of £86.1m.

All booming?

Not quite. The numbers aren't all going up. Two years ago, the UK contributed almost a third of Michael Page's global profit, but now that's down to 24 per cent. And the recruiter's UK revenues grew by only 7 per cent last year, while continental Europe enjoyed a 27 per cent leap in earnings, and in Asia and the Americas revenues jumped by 38 per cent.

Was it all bad?

Elsewhere, Page saw demand for its job services stay buoyant in France and Germany, but admitted that uncertainty flowing from the eurozone debt crisis from July last year means that firms are putting off making decisions about new jobs, which is limiting growth. The keen runner and father of three already spends much time globetrotting around Page's 160-plus offices.

It opened 22 branches, including Pudong, Suzhou, Houston, San Francisco and Cologne as well as Malaysia, India, Qatar and Colombia last year. It looks like his passport might be getting even more use in the coming year.

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