Who Are We?

The Team

Rob and Joanne McKay are a husband and wife team who started Sherrington Associates in 2014, after long careers in executive search and education. Both graduates of Liverpool John Moore’s University, they founded Sherrington with the sole purpose of enhancing people’s lives by creating exemplary leadership teams, capable of making positive change in their organisations.

Rob McKay - Director

Rob McKay - Director

After gaining a 2:1 in Sociology at Liverpool John Moore’s University, Rob’s recruitment career began in 2001. After 10 years in sales and marketing recruitment, Rob moved into executive search in 2011, recruiting senior leaders across the globe for a firm of international headhunters before founding Sherrington in 2014 with wife and business partner Joanne.

Over a 20+ year career, Rob has recruited senior leaders across multiple sectors, both private and public, specialising in C-suite, executive and non-executive appointments. Rob has worked with both global corporates and SMEs alike and has been the retained search partner for high-profile charities including the RNLI and British Red Cross. Since founding Sherrington, Rob has also been the executive coach for executive directors at many of the most respected businesses in the region.

Until 2020, Rob was the Chair of the Institute of Directors in Cheshire, was a founding member of the IoD’s National Sustainability Interest Group and chaired IoD North West’s ‘Sustainable Leadership Series’. His interest in corporate sustainability saw him complete a Certificate in Sustainability Management with the University of Cambridge in 2020.

Today, Rob is a Non Executive Director at regional DMO ‘Marketing Cheshire’, is a member of the Scrutiny & Overview Committee at the Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership and is a judge on the University of Chester’s High Sheriffs Awards for Enterprise. Rob also chairs the Cheshire West Impact Group on behalf of the Cheshire Community Foundation and recently received a Community Hero Award for volunteering.

Joanne McKay – Director of Research

Joanne McKay – Director of Research

Joanne graduated with a 2:1 in Biomedical Science at Liverpool John Moore’s University in 2001. Before founding Sherrington with Rob in 2014, Joanne held senior management roles in the education sector for ten years before finishing as Assistant Head Teacher at a large school in Liverpool, where she also held the role of Head of Data & Research.

This experience has proven invaluable in heading up the research function for Sherrington Associates, delivering highly targeted data-gathering and research work on behalf of our clients. Joanne manages Sherrington’s research partners, both through the internal team’s activities and via several carefully-selected external research partners, delivering bespoke research for executive search mandates as well as benchmarking and talent pooling projects.

Joanne is a long-serving member of the Institute of Directors, a member of the PTA at a local primary school, a member of the CIPD and is currently studying for CIPD Level 5 Diploma in HR Management. Outside of work, Joanne is an active supporter of several charities, including Act for Wildlife, RNLI, Chester Women’s Aid and St Kentigern’s Hospice.

Joe Onions – Executive Researcher

Joe Onions – Executive Researcher

Born and raised in Chester, Joe joined Sherrington Associates in 2021 following an eight year career in property and real estate. During his time in property, Joe helped launch the ‘Select’ division of regional estate agents Humphreys, developing their portfolio of high-value and bespoke properties for HNW customers across the North West and North Wales. Joe brings a wealth of transferable skills to Sherrington. 

His background in researching, matching and finding creative solutions for customers in the property sector, provided a strong platform for his transition into executive search and selection. Joe now leads on the research phase for executive search mandates for clients across multiple sectors including property and real estate, marine and shipping, logistics, advanced manufacturing, engineering, life sciences and third sector.

Prior to joining Sherrington Joe founded and managed a highly subscribed men’s mental health podcast ‘Men to Talk’. Joe remains a passionate advocate of championing positive mental health in the workplace and is currently researching the subject of climate anxiety and it’s impact on young workers.

Ian McKay – Non-Executive Director

Ian McKay – Non-Executive Director

Ian has over 40 years’ leadership experience in the engineering support sector. Prior to his non- executive career, Ian was a senior director of Amec’s asset support business, heading group-wide shutdowns and turnaround activity globally. During his time with Amec, Ian was the assigned mentor for MBA candidates and high-potential senior managers. Today, Ian is an advisor to several global engineering businesses and a founding member of Travivas, a global network of subject-matter- experts in the energy and industrial sectors.

As well as supporting Sherrington with strategic direction and governance, Ian’s experience is invaluable in supporting our clients with executive candidate assessment, executive coaching and professional mentoring, particularly in the context of large-scale strategic re-direction and culture change.

We know that clients value working with a partner who actually cares about helping their business. When clients retain us, it’s not because they want to work with a big brand or because they want a partner with multiple offices and hundreds of consultants. They retain us because they know their business matters to us and we’ll work harder than anyone else to give them value.

The Associates

Our Associates have been handpicked for their fit with our own values and beliefs and for their expertise and experience in their fields. All coming from impressive careers in executive search, human resources and executive coaching, they support our clients through their own unique skills and abilities.