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First Response Group Announces Appointment of new Group Operations Director

January 29, 2024

First Response Group (FRG), the nationwide security, risk, and property protection company, has boosted its senior leadership team with the appointment of Derek Neilson into the newly created role of Group Operations Director.

Neilson, who holds a Politics and International Relations (MA Hons) degree, previously headed up the company’s Scottish division, Apardion for the past eight years, starting as head of operations and then as managing director when FRG acquired the business in 2018.

With extensive security knowledge spanning more than 16 years, Neilson honed his skills with time spent in the police force – including counter terrorism emergency response management and the territorial army. He brings with him a comprehensive management background alongside his experience in a risk environment, delivering strategy, governance, policies, and intelligence. 

Commenting on the appointment, chief operating officer, Mark Mansfield, said: “This appointment is a strategic move that underscores our commitment to growth and recognises the talent from within our company.

“In this new leadership role, Derek will enhance our operational efficiency and be responsible for supervising our group-wide operations and central services function. This move is all part of our objective to grow the company as we aim to exceed £100m in turnover in the next three years. To meet this, we need operational excellence in leadership and Derek is a proven operator who brings this in abundance. We have every faith in him as he takes up his new role.”

Neilson said: “I am delighted to take up this new position and meet the strategic priorities of the company as we drive forward on our growth journey.

“I look forward to working with the leadership team to continue to instil operational excellence in all that we do. That this position is newly created demonstrates we are moving in the right direction and I hope I can bring my experience of leading the Scottish business, as well as my track record in the police, to the new role.”

FRG, headquartered in Leeds, employs a workforce of some 2,000 professionals and is forecasting revenue in excess of £60m this year, plotting an integrated growth pathway of acquisitions and organic growth that aims to break the £100m threshold within the next three years. FRG has also firmly entrenched itself as a leader in the UK security market, recently winning two awards for its work with Wembley Stadium, at the prestigious Security & Fire Excellence Awards in December of last year.

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