The History

In 2014, Jamie Douglas-Hamilton set two Guinness World Records by rowing 5,000 miles across the vast Indian Ocean, all the way from Australia to Africa. On their journey, Jamie’s crew of six pulled more than a million strokes, battling against strong currents, unpredictable storms and even a hurricane. With rowing broken into two-hour shifts around the clock, each crew member burned 10,000 calories a day and had to drink up to 13 litres of water – sometimes leading to vivid hallucinations and even loss of consciousness.

Actiph Water

The Journey

To counter these extreme conditions, the crew started to mix their freshwater with a small amount of saltwater, in order to replenish essential minerals. They believed this had a dramatic positive effect, enabling them to hydrate, replenish lost minerals and complete their voyage.

It was this dramatic experience in the middle of the Indian Ocean that inspired Jamie to learn all he could about hydration and launch a new and different brand of water that would encourage more people to live an active, balanced lifestyle.

Following extensive worldwide research, Jamie discovered that the Japanese have water that is ionised, supercharging it to create high pH alkaline water. They call this ‘waterfall water’ because of the change of electrical charge created by rushing water in a waterfall.

This discovery sparked a desire for Jamie to bring ionised, alkaline water to Europe and so the Actiph journey began.

The Water

Actiph is the UK’s first high alkaline, ionised water. Supercharged to a pH 9.0+, it offers hydration with a refreshing taste for people who live an active, balanced lifestyle.

The Recruitment Challenge

First Role: Chief Operating Officer

Jamie first met Alasdair Murray in August 2016 to discuss recruiting his first key hire. The individual Jamie discussed was a hybrid of roles and they agreed on a job spec together that resulted in a Head of Demand Planning & Operations.

This subsequently developed into a Chief Operating Officer position. Not only was the skill set and experience of the candidate critical to Jamie, the culture fit and mindset of candidates was equally important. Candidates had to fit the brand, be able to work autonomously, and have that can-do attitude – never giving up no matter what challenges are faced.

Second Role: Chief Executive Officer

Alasdair was briefed to recruit a CEO, with very specific skill set and experience.

The Actiph team required expertise within the water market and supplying the major multiples. The brief was to recruit an experienced sales professional who had grown categories and built sales teams with excellent relationships with the retailers.

The Process

Both roles followed the same detailed and targeted process. After a number of meetings with key stakeholders, detailed job descriptions were agreed covering both technical and personal attributes. Given the unique nature of Actiph Water and is relatively unknown status, a highly targeted headhunt was required. Alasdair mapped out the market and provided confidence of the depth of search. The importance of selling the opportunity was clear; Alasdair needed an extensive understanding of the business and future plans to present the opportunities in the best way possible. Alasdair met with all potential candidates and provided detailed interview notes and reports on each candidate and supported Actiph through their interviews and onboarding.


We successfully provided Actiph with strong shortlists for both roles and assisted with negotiations around offers resulting in the preferred candidates accepting offers and joining the Actiph team.