Our consultants are established specialists with extensive market knowledge.

Sphere Group is led by a team of accomplished professionals, who combine expertise in their respective fields with a tenacious approach. Together, they foster a common culture focused on service, integrity and success.


Geoff Blackwell-Frier​​


Geoff has nearly 30 years’ experience in general management and board recruitment and a network of contacts that stretches across the UK. Initially he graduated at Loughborough University, qualified as an accountant with EY before moving into accountancy recruitment in 1993. Having established the Manchester Office for a leading national recruiter he was promoted to Regional Director and participated in an MBO prior to its flotation.

In 1999 he formed the Sphere Group. His expertise encompasses Senior and Board recruitment in industry and professional services firms. He has substantial experience in dealing with Listed, PE backed and family-owned businesses.

Outside of work his interests are watching live football, playing golf, walking in national parks, and spending time with his family.

Julian Aronberg


Julian joined Sphere Group as a graduate from the University of Leeds in 2007. Having progressed quickly to manage the finance teams across Leeds and Manchester, Julian launched the London practice in 2014 before being promoted to Director.

Specialising in the recruitment of qualified finance professionals at the executive level, Julian has developed a niche and extensive network within the corporate functions of the Plc market, from the AIM to the FTSE100. He has also developed relationships and successfully advised and recruited for a large number of independently owned and PE backed businesses. 

Much of Julian’s down time is spent with his young family, but when he can, he looks to enjoy his passion for great wine and food.

Nick Jones


Nick began his career in financial recruitment with Sphere Group in 2005 after graduating from the University of Manchester.  Marking a successful decade in the business, he was promoted to Director and heads up a high calibre team that is focussed on finance and accountancy recruitment for commerce and industry clients. 

With over 15 years experience, Nick specialises in executive level finance appointments for privately owned and PE backed businesses as well possessing many long standing relationships with large listed groups.  Nick takes pride in offering candidates and clients a proactive, confidential and professional recruitment service. Nick’s philosophy is a simple one, he identifies and builds relationships with the best candidates in the market and matches them to career development opportunities that will bring long term value to his clients.  

Outside of work, Nick likes spending time with his family, as well as HIIT workouts, following motorsports and enjoying craft beer when the opportunity arises.

Paul Hey


Having joined and trained with Sphere Group as a graduate, Paul has progressed to Director developing a team of highly skilled consultants, specialising in financial recruitment. Paul has an established network of entrepreneurs, investors and corporate advisory professionals. He has a track record of recruiting talent into leadership and board roles in industry as well as the professional services.

On top of his diverse network of contacts, many of which have been developed through superior levels of candidate service, he has built a reputation for his ability to find a solution for even the most challenging requirements. He is passionate about people being the key to enabling most organisations to achieve their potential by having the talent and team to do so.

When he isn’t working, Paul enjoys spending time with family, cycling and following football at all levels.

Michele Douglas


Michele has 20 years’ experience in accountancy recruitment across the UK. She was instrumental to the successful set up of the Manchester Office initiating and building relationships with a number of high profile listed clients.

Initially she graduated from Aston University before joining a leading national IT recruiter. In 1999 she was a Co-Founder of Sphere Group and currently focuses on the accountancy market. She is renowned for her tenacious approach and has developed relationships with many of the leading Investment Management & Consultancy firms.

Outside of work her interests are photography, walking in national parks, and spending time with her family.

Senior Consultants:

Ruth Evans


Tom Walsh


Consultants & Research Executives:

Jack Harland


Luke Jones


Our approach is insightful, collaborative, proactive, quality driven, meticulous and delivered by consultants with experienced specialist knowledge.

We utilise a quality driven, proactive search methodology that has been developed and perfected to guarantee success. Our approach is scientific and based on three key underlying principles, a significant investment in research, use of experienced specialist knowledge and an approach designed to deliver consistent, high-quality results on every assignment.

Our service gives our clients a competitive advantage. Everyone knows the difference an outstanding leader makes to a business or a function. Clients generally need to be thinking ahead of the curve and adopting a strategic approach to long-term hiring. As well as addressing today’s leadership issues, a well-run business will be identifying and recruiting the future leaders before they are tied into LTIPs elsewhere.

Our Values.

We apply energy and drive and are committed to excellence

We operate in an extremely fast moving, competitive environment that requires drive and determination to succeed. We recruit people with high energy and a commitment to excellence. When you combine this with our methodology you get a very special service.

We promote and maintain the highest standards in our work

For us recruitment is a profession. We are quality focussed with a desire to be the best at what we do, and judging by the regularity and longevity that our clients engage with us, we are confident that our service meets and often exceeds our clients expectation’s.

We are trustworthy, straight forward to deal with and build relationships by doing the right thing

We care about people and act with honesty and integrity. We believe in meritocracy and diversity and wherever possible promoting people internally. When working with us you will be able to trust that we are acting both on your behalf and with your best interests at heart.

We'd Love to Hear from You.

Contact us today to learn more about us, current assignments, or to discuss your unique requirements.

I’ve worked with Paul over 18 months and he’s worked extremely hard to bring us the right candidates. He understands exactly what we need and what we expect and his knowledge of the market is great. Whenever we have a new role I don’t hesitate to contact Paul.
Adam Ward
CEO & Co-Founder at Airtime Rewards
When making the fund’s first investment in the North West of England, we were recommended to speak with Paul & Sphere Group, to help formulate a strategic plan for the recruitment of a new finance department. The plan was for a highly confidential potential portfolio business that was pre investment. Paul quickly understood our requirements and using his candidate knowledge of the local area, was able to work closely with us to formulate a structure and plan that was fit for purpose. At the point of investment, we had secured a new CFO having received an excellent quality shortlist; and already had a shortlist ready to interview for the FC position. The ability to deliver this project confidentially with such quality is testament to the Sphere operation and we would not hesitate to return.
International Private Equity Investor
(Confidential assignment requiring NDA)
I worked with Paul from a junior stage in my career to formulate a plan to achieve my goal of attaining a CFO position within the shortest time frame possible. Paul was knowledgeable, and advised clearly where gaps existed in my skill set. What was most unexpected was the advice on certain occasions not to move away from my current employer and explanation as to why this would benefit me. Having achieved this goal, I have throughout my subsequent career, received an excellent service in attracting high quality talent in building my own team when using Sphere.
Rather than selling what he could do, Paul spent more time understanding our business and culture to ensure he provided candidates that would fit in here. The hardest part of our process was choosing one from the shortlist to offer.
Managing Director
Privately Owned Manufacturing (Confidential assignment requiring NDA)
Julian was accessible and responsive right from the start. He clearly understands the importance of being a good listener and was prepared to take as much time as required to understand our company culture and ideal candidate profile. In addition, Julian was an effective intermediary between candidate and prospective employer, with excellent communication skills even during the more difficult moments of the Covid-19 pandemic. I would not hesitate to recommend Julian and Sphere Group.
David Seekings
CFO - 4imprint Group plc
I have worked with Julian Aronberg on a number of occasions and he has always provided both me and our business with an excellent service. He has demonstrated a clear ability to quickly grasp our requirements whilst providing us with insightful advice. Julian’s knowledge of his specialist markets is excellent and he has a clear understanding of what good looks like. He has always added a great deal of value when looking to make strategic hires and I would have no hesitation in recommending him.
Nat Rothschild
Executive Chairman - Volex Plc
I retained the services of Julian Aronberg at Sphere Group to identify a new Group Finance Director to replace myself on behalf of the Board. As a fast growing listed tech company, this is a broad hands on role encompassing financial leadership, corporate governance, as well as commercial and strategic partnering. Julian spent time with me and other members of the Board to fully understand our business, future plans and requirements of the role. He advised us on the various profiles of candidates we could consider and what we may need to do to secure our ideal candidate. The main challenge with this assignment was that we needed to identify the right person quickly without compromising on quality and fit with the business. Sphere Group’s proactive search methodology meant Julian was able to identify the right people quickly and due to his thorough understanding of our requirements he delivered a credible shortlist for us. We were able to identify and recruit the successful candidate despite this being at the start of and during the COVID-19 pandemic lock down. Julian provided an excellent level of service, demonstrating a technical understanding of the requirements of the role plus expert knowledge of the candidate pool. Crucially, he was also able to match the cultural and aspirational fit of the candidates with our business. He communicated effectively during the process and delivered the project on time. I would have no reservation in using him again or recommending his services to others.
Andrew Miller
Previous CFO and Current NED - Corero Network Security PLC
"Speaking from a candidate point of view, Julian Aronberg and Sphere Group's involvement, imbued professionalism in the recruitment process from beginning to end. The start of the journey involved a first, general, exploratory meeting when Julian outlined Sphere Group's experience, background and particular specialisms and deep-dived into my skill set, experience and motivations. He also provided guidance in market trends and other useful feedback. Thereafter, taking properly into account my desires and requirements, he subsequently identified a potential opportunity which represented a very good fit and alignment for both me as candidate and for the company. The potential opportunity was discussed in depth to make sure all parameters and metrics were known and expectations were met throughout for both sides. Then throughout an extensive selection and interview process, Julian maintained constant communication and two-way feedback. At all times he was professional, courteous and pro-active. Even once in role, Julian has been in touch several times to ensure all is well for both sides, something in my experience few executive search firms actually do, preferring to move from mandate to mandate, yet essential for building a long-term relationship. In summary, I would have no hesitation whatsoever in highly recommending Julian to others to meet their future recruitment needs."
Neil Pritchard
CFO - Corero Network Security PLC
In hiring a Head of Finance, we were really pleased with the service provision by Sphere/Julian, in particular by the quality of candidates put forward and by the responsive and high quality inputs to the process”
Rob Quinn
Previous CFO of Silence Therapeutics PLC
It was a pleasure to work with Julian Aronberg at Sphere Group when I secured my position as the Deputy CFO for an AIM listed manufacturing business. Julian spent time with me to understand my aspirations and working style, considering how these aligned with the business and culture of his client. He guided me through the process, keeping me well informed at each stage. After securing my new role, Julian helped me fill an open position having identified some excellent candidates. I would have no hesitation in recommending Julian and the Sphere Group.
Jon Boaden
CFO Volex Plc
We retained the services of Julian Aronberg and Sphere Group in the search for a newly created Deputy Group Finance Director position. This was a strategic hire with the agenda of identifying an individual who had the ability to transition to the Group Finance Director position in a number of years. Julian spent time understanding our requirements fully and advised us on the role and candidate specification to ensure we were able to attract the right people. He demonstrated a thorough understanding of the personal attributes and values required to fit in to our company and be successful. As a result, Julian produced a high quality shortlist of candidates, all of whom were strong contenders for the role. From this we selected the successful candidate. Julian took full ownership, providing advice and guidance throughout, and made the whole process extremely easy. We would happily retain his and Sphere Group's services again.
Nish Malde
CFO - Inland Homes plc
" We have used Sphere Group on two occasions recently in our search for a high calibre Group Finance Director and Group Financial Controller and on both occasions Nick Jones has put forward a number of compelling CVs. We would not hesitate using them again in the future. "
David Adams
Executive Chairman – J. Tomlinson
" Nick has provided excellent support on a number of senior finance hires over the last few years. He always takes the time to understand the specifics of the role we are hiring for and provides high quality candidates that have fitted in well with our culture and have gone on to be promoted internally subsequent to joining. The communication from Nick between ourselves and the candidate is always clear and succinct. "
Luke Grant
Group Financial Controller - IMI PLC
" I have recently worked with Nick Jones from Sphere Group for the appointment of our Finance Director. I found Nick and Sphere to be very professional in their approach, spending time to thoroughly understand the role and the future needs of our business. A short list of excellent candidates was provided in the timescales agreed. After appointing from the short list, Nick has maintained his support post offer, providing us with excellent customer service. "
Clare Lundberg
HR Director – Mayflex
" Nick and his team at Sphere have always been extremely effective at securing me good quality candidates. They always understand and deliver on the brief and are really easy to work with. "
Ben Guest
Finance Director – IMI Precision
" Nick is the first port of call for all of my accountancy recruitment. Nick is personable and has a great understanding of not only the recruitment industry but also of nuances of the finance and accounting sector. "
Neil Floyd
Finance Director – ABM Catering
" We enlisted the help of Sphere Group to support us with the recruitment of a Finance Director position. This was a pivotal succession planning role for the business since the successful candidate would shortly be taking over from the current incumbent who has been with the business for over 30 years. Nick took the time to properly understand our requirements and sent a high-quality shortlist of relevant candidates who stacked up on experience and personality, one of which we appointed. The candidate is performing very well and we would have no hesitation in using Sphere Group again next time we are recruiting. "
Justin Owens
Head of HR - Robinson Brothers
" Nick has provided a good service for me in recruiting into the Group Assurance team. He does not waste my time with non-suitable candidates and is reliable and good to work with "
Paul Roughedsge
Director OF Assurance – IMI PLC
I have known Geoff Blackwell-Frier for a number of years now and he has always kept in touch and shown an interest in my career. With the Finance Director’s position at Baa Bar plc, Geoff fully briefed me on the role, the company and the process itself and I valued his honest and direct approach. After I had been appointed, I discussed the recruitment process with the Chief Executive and she appreciated the time and effort Geoff invested to understand the business culture and identify the right skill set & personality for the role. A few months later, Baa Bar utilised Sphere Group’s expertise again to recruit a qualified Financial Controller from practice.
Sue Hill
Previously Finance Director at Baa Bar
Geoff Blackwell-Frier did much more than just find me the right home. He agreed with me a strategic plan based on his detailed knowledge and experience of both local and wider opportunities, and then he held me to it. He then helped me to decide between 3 competing offers with clear objective advice. I have recommended others to use his services both as recruiters and candidates.
Nick Scull
Previously Head of Tax at Garbutt & Elliott