Leading the company are two senior executives with proven tracks records in each of the core areas of the company’s focus:

Simon Ward

Simon WardSimon leads First Choice Corporate, providing a full consultancy solution for businesses looking to buy, sell or merge as well as working alongside partner,Chas Dowton, on Executive Search assignments.

Before becoming a director of First Choice in 2000, Simon enjoyed a 30-year in the freight forwarding industry. He began his career with EMG Air Services, a subsidiary of P & O, which later became Pandair, theUK’s number one IATA freight agency.

After Pandair, he joined Hudson Freight Services, a specialist in the oil and gas sector during the time of major development for the industry in the North Sea. Later, he moved to another leader in the UKmarket, Mercury Airfreight, responsible for the development of vertical industry sectors, including healthcare and publishing.

In 1974, he joined Guestair, a subsidiary of the Harris & Dixon Group, as Branch Manager and after successfully building the company’s regional presence he returned to London as Operations Director to develop Guestair’s ocean and airfreight businesses.

He became a shareholder and Managing Director of Guestair in 1985. Growing the company to a £20 million turnover, it was sold in 1994 to a US-based Public Company. In 1996, Fritz Companies, the San Francisco-based global logistics specialist purchased theUK business and Simon was appointed Managing Director of Fritz Companies in 1997

Chas Dowton

Chas DowtonChas has dedicated his career to the freight transport industry and recruitment.

As head of First Choice Staff, he has over 30 years’ experience in specialist recruitment serving clients in freight forwarding, shipping and logistics.

He began his career in 1977 working in the import department of the DC Andrews Ballantyne cargo agency before taking on commercial roles with the company. He later worked for both OCL and Alltransport.

In 1980, he took his first post in recruitment as a Branch Manager and this ultimately led to the creation of his own business with a partner, TAC Recruitment, head-quartered at London’s Heathrow Airport. Over a six-year period, TAC opened five UK offices.

In 1989, he launched Chas Dowton Associates and three years later was approached by a national group that wanted to add a niche freight service to their portfolio. Recognising the special requirements of shipping, forwarding and logistics clients, in June 1994 he launched First Choice.

The company has grown significantly and retains a client base that includes the world’s leading multi-modal freight and logistics organisations as well as independent SMES in the industry across the UK. It also works on behalf of overseas businesses looking to employ personnel in the UK.

Today, First Choice Staff is the leading recruitment agency for permanent and temporary job placements at all levels of the UK freight, transport and logistics sectors.