We fully understand businesses’ need for high calibre leaders to facilitate their growth plans, export ambitions and to act as a brand ambassador for market-leading products and services.

Gary Crawford
Managing Director
Tech International

"On various occasions we found the best person for the job and this wouldn’t have been possible without 4c’s knowledge and expertise, and their reach outside of Northern Ireland."

4c Executive was launched in 2013 and quickly established ourselves as the leading provider of true executive search services in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and further afield.

Trevor Lockhart
Chief Executive
Fane Valley

"4c went the extra mile to understand our company and our values before embarking on the process, and this strategic approach led to them presenting us with some fantastic candidates who would otherwise never have been on our radar. "

4c acquires MSL to Create New Executive Search ‘Powerhouse’ in Northern Ireland

Published on: 12 April 2017

A new executive search ‘powerhouse’ in Northern Ireland has been created through the acquisition of MSL Search & Selection by Belfast-based 4c Executive Search, it was announced today. MSL will now been subsumed into the 4c brand, with former managing director Ian Rainey set to remain involved in the business in a Non-Executive Director capacity.

The acquisition was the next stage in 4c’s “ambitious growth strategy”, according to founder and managing director Gary Irvine.  “4c has enjoyed steady but significant growth over the past three years and, to date, has been appointed to find the best available talent for over 150 senior-level, business critical roles in Northern Ireland and GB. However, we are not complacent and are always reviewing our progress, striving for opportunities to grow or improve the business in any way we can.

“Having already expanded significantly in the past 12 months through the launch of a number of new divisions in the business, we saw this opportunity to purchase MSL – Northern Ireland’s oldest and most-established executive recruitment provider – as the next step in our ambitious growth strategy.

“Going forward, I believe that this puts 4c in an exceptionally strong place, firmly cementing our position as the leading – and now the largest – provider of true executive search services in Northern Ireland through 4c Executive Search, 4c Boardroom and 4c Third Sector.

Led by Ian Rainey, MSL has been providing executive recruitment services to an extensive portfolio of private, public and third sector organisations in Northern Ireland for over 20 years.

Mr Irvine explained that MSL Founder Ian Rainey would remain involved in the business in a Non-Executive Director on the 4c Board.   “Ian is someone for whom I have always had an immense amount of respect and admiration during my 30 years in this industry,” he commented.

“Very much ‘the forefather of executive recruitment in Northern Ireland’, he was working in this field long before anyone else. He brings with him a huge amount of knowledge and experience not only from MSL, but from a number of previous senior roles in the international legal and banking sectors, and as a former Managing Director of Belfast International Airport and Chairman of Belfast City Airport.

“I am confident that 4c’s clients and our growing team of employees will benefit greatly from Ian’s insight and wisdom, and that he will make an important contribution to the continued growth and success of the 4c business in the coming months and years.”

Ian Rainey explained that the acquisition would enable him to pursue other opportunities and gradually move towards retirement, whilst ensuring that the MSL business would be in “safe hands”.

“Gary has built a very solid, successful business in 4c and I have been extremely impressed with everything I have seen of the firm in recent years,” he said.  “The 4c offering is truly unique in Northern Ireland, with the team following a very clever, methodical and scientific model that brings the very best results for the client.  Their strategic approach to the use of external researchers is unmatched here and means that the vast majority of roles undertaken by 4c are filled through search in the truest sense of the word.

“I have every confidence that the MSL business is in very safe hands and that, under the 4c brand, the clients with whom I have had the pleasure of working with in the past 23 years will be extremely well looked after.

“Gary and I have already begun meeting with MSL’s loyal and long-established client base, who have welcomed news of this acquisition and have committed to working with 4c going forward.  I believe that they will quickly recognise the unrivalled depth and breadth of knowledge and experience that this joining of forces brings, together with the unparalleled innovation, energy and slick professionalism that 4c’s growing team of search consultants, researchers and business support staff offer.”

More News & Insights