Company overview

Backed by Connection Capital, HEL is a specialist laboratory equipment manufacturer with a blue chip client base including pharmaceutical giants, major fine and petro-chemical companies, biotech firms and leading academic institutions worldwide. The business is headquartered in Borehamwood and employs 51 staff with offices in the US, India and China.


Having successfully recruited a CFO for HEL, Directorbank’s George Heppenstall was instructed to source a CEO as a succession plan for the current CEO/Founder.

The successor would drive the growth trajectory of the business, building on HEL’s highly respected brand position and product set. Key accountabilities would include increasing routes to market through partnerships and international expansion, driving technical development and product design, building the team and strengthening relationships with clients.

A commercially-orientated, operationally-led candidate was required with a strong track record of scaling a precision engineering company and selling into technical end markets. Significant experience of leading high performing technical teams as well as managing specialist distributor networks was essential whilst experience of working with private equity and leading an exit process was beneficial.


Supported by Head of Research Faye Middleton, George completed a proactive search of the relevant markets comprising comprehensive mapping and referrals from the Directorbank network. Six highly competent candidates were presented for client interview and Louise Madden was successfully appointed to the role.


Louise is a commercially-focused CEO with strong experience in the SME manufacturing sector, specifically within biotechnology companies supplying tools to academic research and the pharmaceutical industry. She has delivered ambitious growth plans, building highly motivated teams and long-standing relationships with clients, suppliers and investors across new and existing markets.

Most recently she was CEO at Applied Photophysics, a UK-headquartered scientific instrument manufacturer with operations in the US and China. During her tenure she successfully scaled the business, transforming it from technology-led to commercially-focused with a revenue increase of 20% over 3 years.

Louise has also held senior leadership positions at Biolin Scientific AN and Farfield Group, both specialising in the manufacturer of precision tools.