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Penna appoints Kathryn Kempster as Managing Director

Penna, an award-winning recruitment organisation that provides expert attraction, assessment, selection and retention solutions, today announced the appointment of Kathryn Kempster as Managing Director.

The company, which is part of The Adecco Group and has a rich heritage in providing specialist recruitment for organisations in both the public and private sectors, confirmed the appointment will take effect from 1st January 2024.

With more than 25 years’ industry experience and an excellent reputation for driving strong performance and team leadership, Kathryn brings a pedigree in building meaningful and sustainable relationships with clients to Penna, which also offers global recruitment and career transition services through its sister brand LHH.

Having joined the organisation in June 2020 as Director – Attraction & Communications, from Radancy, Kathryn will take the reins from Julie Towers, who will step down as Managing Director in December this year. Julie will actively continue her role as a Board Director and the leadership of the Executive Recruitment businesses.

“I am delighted after a fabulous 12 ½ years to hand over the baton of leading the Penna and Stafford Long business to Kathryn and look forward to working with her and the Directors to deliver further success for the business,” said Julie Towers. “In 2024 Penna have been in business for 50 years, which is no mean feat in the recruitment industry. Good succession planning is the foundation of continuity, so I am delighted for Kathryn and look forward to what’s next for Penna and Stafford Long.”

Commenting on her appointment, Kathryn Kempster said, “I am delighted to be taking on the role of Managing Director for Penna / Stafford Long from January 2024, working with a great team of colleagues to drive our business forward at this interesting time in our industry. I am particularly excited to build upon our success to date, harnessing our unique position in the market to accelerate further growth. 2024 will be Penna’s 50th year – a year of celebration and ambition as we look to drive further change both in our sector and with clients.”

JC Townend, President of The Adecco Group and LHH for the UK and Ireland, added: “We are grateful for Julie’s tremendous leadership since our acquisition of Penna in 2016. Under her stewardship Penna has maintained and grown its reputation as a premier brand in public and private sector recruiting and talent attraction. We are delighted Julie will remain in the business as an executive leader and board member, while working with Kathryn to create a smooth succession for the Managing Director role.”

Penna and Stafford Long are award-winning recruitment organisations that provides expert attraction, assessment, selection, and retention solutions to clients, and through its sister company LHH offer global recruitment and career transition services. Penna is part of the Adecco Group. For more information visit

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