Sir Alec Reed: Founder. Entrepreneur. Philanthropist.

Find out how Sir Alec Reed grew a household-name brand, launched several charities, and received recognition from the crown for his actions….

Sir Alec Reed with his medal, pictured with son James Reed

How Reed began…

Alec Reed left school at 16 and became a trainee accountant whilst working part-time as an estate agent in a double-fronted shop in Hounslow, London.

One day, he turned to his manager and said “You’re selling carpets in the other half of the shop. Why don’t you turn it into an employment agency?” He was turned down, but didn’t give up.

Two weeks later, he said: “Well, if you won’t do it, will you rent me that half? You make £10 a week from your carpets, so will you rent it to me for £10 a week?’”

And so REED was born. Since that day in 1960, the business has grown to be the most recognised name in recruitment in the UK and is continually growing its global brand.

first reed office in hounslow london opened by sir alec reed in 1960

A History of Business Growth and Innovation

reed logo - blue on white background jpg

REED was one of the first recruitment agencies in the UK to create recruitment specialisms. With Alec Reed’s own background as a qualified accountant, this naturally formed the first specialism.

Today, Reed operates throughout the UK and beyond covering a range of specialisms and markets from Business Support and HR to Finance and Technology.

In 1994 James Reed, Alec Reed’s son, joined the business. One year later was launched – the first recruitment website to hit the UK market. Over the last 25+ years has helped grow Reed in to the household name it is now, along with its motto of Love Mondays…

Today (Reed Online) receives millions of daily users across the website and connected apps. In addition to hosting job adverts for clients and recruiters, it is also now home to a dedicated library of online courses, helping to upskill the nation.

love mondays mug

Business + Charity = Philanthropy

“I have founded seven charities in all and been actively involved in another four. Encouraging philanthropy is my main mission now; but without entrepreneurialism to make the money there would be no philanthropy.”

Sir Alec Reed

reed foundation logo - reed foundation was setup in 1985 by Sir Alec Reed

The Reed Foundation has been used for over 40 years to provide seed funding for a range of charitable causes. The foundation itself owns 18% of REED, which is why our Co-Members proudly say that we work one day a week for charity.

Some of the most notable organisations established through the work of Sir Alec Reed and the Reed Foundation include Womankind, Ethiopiaid and the Big Give; all of which you can read more about on our charity page.

Over the last 30 years Ethiopiaid has contributed over £36 million to projects in Africa.

And since 2007 the Big Give has helped raise over £120 million for good causes and has no plans to stop there. The platform connects philanthropists, charities and individual donors so that each donation made gets doubled through match-funding.

Ethiopiaid and Womankind logos - charities set up by Sir Alec Reed via the Reed Foundation
the big give logo

Recent campaigns include supporting charities around COVD-19 efforts in 2020, as well as annual events such as the Christmas Challenge appeals and Green Match Fund campaigns.

Sir Alec Reed received his knighthood in 2011 for his contributions to both business and charity. He was also awarded the Beacon Prize in 2010 for his “longstanding work in supporting hundreds of charities”.

Join us in improving lives through work…

improving lives through work mural in birmingham office

Improving lives through work is the purpose that unites every co-member throughout all the Reed companies and charities.

The purpose is led by Sir Alec and James Reed and combined with our values, drives every decision made, and every future plan.

If you would like to join a business with over 60 years of growth, philanthropy and social responsibility then make sure to check out our current vacancies.