Chris Underwood
Managing Director

With over 20 years experience in executive search and leadership talent advisory, Chris Underwood has worked for some of the biggest names in the executive search and selection industry, before setting up Adastrum Consulting in 2009.

Chris has led a wide range of international transformational leadership assignments from CxO to Functional Heads of for FTSE 100 companies through to venture capital backed startups in the UK, Europe and USA.

His passionate, pragmatic and practical approach has led to a new breed of executive search business that is revolutionising the industry and setting new standards. Chris uses an integrated talent management approach to support business transformation.

Rare to the industry, Chris is British Psychological Society (BPS) Level A&B qualified and is trained in a number of psychometric assessment tools. He studied Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Manchester.

Contact Chris here.

Dr Maryam Bigdeli

Leadership development director

Maryam is both a behaviour neuroscientist and a practitioner, with a PhD in the Neuroscience of Leadership Development. She is a senior executive coach and leadership and change consultant who has extensive experience across a range of businesses globally. She has a 20 year track record of successfully coaching nearly 2,000 leaders, including significant experience in working with high level teams. Maryam is particularly passionate about helping individuals and teams to collaborate more effectively and make better decisions.

She specialises in facilitating interactive workshops which lead participants to experience major shifts in thinking, behaviour and outcomes. She has worked with a number of leading global firms such as Philips, Kraft Food, Coca Cola, Pfizer, Siemens, Ikea, DHL, NATS and TFL.

Maryam is an accredited executive and organisational development coach, and a highly experienced psychometrics and a Prosci change management practitioner.

Contact Maryam here. 


Eric Contreras
Delivery Director

Eric joined Adastrum in 2016, bringing with him over 10 years’ Executive Search experience for some of the biggest names in the industry. Eric has a successful track record in the Technology, Media, Telecoms, Professional Services, Industrial and Public Sector verticals. He has successfully undertaken a wide range of searches at all levels of seniority across the Technology, Operations, Finance and Commercial functions for international corporate enterprises and high growth technology start-ups as well as new market entrants.

Having lived and worked in the UAE, Eric has also undertaken international search assignments and delivered mandates across the UK, USA, Europe, Middle East and Far East.

Contact Eric here.


Johanna Guerin
Leadership Development Director and Executive coach

Johanna has over 25 years’ experience in leading and developing teams. Her approach is to look at the business first, intuitively arriving at a solid understanding of the business’ goals and challenges, before providing a range of credible and practical solutions and support.

Johanna spent an enjoyable 12 years in senior Human Resources and operational roles in retailing, giving her an in-depth understanding of what it takes to become the best, most productive and successful business and individual. With extensive experience within some of the best-known organisations across the UK, Europe, Asia and USA, she is uniquely placed to help her clients get to where they want to be.

Johanna is a qualified coach specialising in high performance delivery and has coached Boards and their teams through start-ups, turnarounds and growth plans. She uses a range of bespoke team and one-to-one coaching packages to enable leaders and their teams to do their very best work. .

Johanna holds an Advanced Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring and is licensed to deliver PAPI, The Emotional Capital Report, Conflict Coaching, Mediation, MBTI and The International Profiler.

Contact Johanna here.