Equitas Partners

We are an agile, partner-led, boutique NED search specialist that is passionate about helping create better stories for both clients and candidates alike.

Highly experienced at helping ambitious entrepreneurial businesses and individuals fulfil their ambitions, nothing makes us smile more than helping you write the next ‘best chapter’ in either your organisation’s growth story or the narrative of your non-executive career.

We recognise that recommendations, relationships and reputation underpin nearly all the mandates we receive, and we work exceptionally hard to exceed expectations on each assignment.

Our ability and commitment to get to the very heart of what will make an outstanding NED appointment for you is foundational to all we do.

Good people are not usually short of offers or opportunities, and we recognise the importance of making sure that your opportunity stands out. We go the ‘extra mile’ to make sure your opportunity is communicated in a comprehensive, compelling and relevant way to its target audience. And likewise, as a NED, our rigorous approach to understanding your career journey and aspirations helps us to add value through expert input and identification of high calibre opportunities where there is a strong all round ‘fit’.

Informed by over 20 years in executive recruitment, we are clear that our ‘sweet spot’ and passion is working with ambitious, high growth entrepreneurially-led businesses. These range from privately-owned, founder-led or family-owned businesses, through to businesses that are private equity backed or AIM/Main Market listed.

Typical scenarios include transformational change, strategic review, external fundraising or preparation for some level of corporate transaction, often with high levels of confidentiality. Our appreciation of likely surrounding issues means we are expertly placed to help you identify and secure the leadership talent you need to help navigate the next stage of your growth journey.

Like most good business models, Equitas Partners’ has an attractive simplicity about it – we recruit non-executive directors and that’s it. We believe that this specialist approach enables us to offer you a level of expertise, insight and network connections that is second to none.

Because of our specialist focus, we can also offer you a more bespoke service. Frequently, an appointment requires a rigorous and comprehensive NED search. But sometimes it doesn’t. We take a pragmatic, business-led approach and will happily share what we think is the best way to tackle things. For example, if you are uncertain of whether you really want or need a NED, we can arrange an informal, introductory coffee with a relevant NED candidate, and just see what emerges from that discussion.

Alternatively, if the appointment of a NED is investment or transaction dependent (which may or may not happen), we are able to leverage our immediate networks rather than incurring the costs and commitment of a comprehensive search. Whatever the context, we will try and work with you to deliver the solution that best fits your needs.

NED Search

By augmenting our extensive networks with rigorous proactive search we enable you to access the best available NED talent for your role(s). Through our extensive connections across the UK’s regional business communities, we are also enable to access valuable insight and commendations, thereby maximising visibility of both candidate availability and suitability.

Working on an exclusive, retained basis we will:

    Work closely with you to build up a detailed understanding of the requirement

    Prepare a thorough and attractive briefing document for prospective candidates

    Work with you to comprehensively map out the market, identifying prospective target companies/sectors/relevant prior deals/backgrounds

    Maintain full visibility of our search progress, working in an agile and responsive manner through to and beyond acceptance of offer

    Provide an experience for both client and candidate which exceeds expectations


We can provide agile and flexible pre-transaction NED recruitment solutions to support your pre deal/IPO processes.
We have extensive experience of working with private equity investors in the run up to investment as well as businesses exploring IPO options.

Our experience covers:

    Buy side – Whether ‘in exclusivity’ or still part of a competitive process

    Preparation for exit – Bringing in a NED to add strategic value and maximise shareholder return

    Evaluation of market opportunity – Enabling investors and NEDs to informally share sector expertise and insights to credibly assess viability of an potential opportunity

    Bringing/unlocking a deal – Introduction of NEDs who are seeking an suitable investment partner for a prospective deal

    Pre IPO – Recruitment of full NED suite (Chair/Senior Independent Director/Independent NEDs etc) ahead of flotation

Investing Non-Execs

We make introductions between ambitious businesses and NEDs who are also prepared to invest as part of their appointment as a NED.
Sometimes referred to as ‘smart money’, this arrangement further aligns them with key stakeholders by having ‘skin in the game’ and can often prove a transformational appointment for emerging, high growth businesses.

Exploratory Introductions

Not all business owners or businesses are sure that they need to appoint a NED. After understanding the opportunities and challenges a business faces, we can make no obligation, exploratory introductions in which both parties can see if there is common ground for working together in some capacity, whether NED or otherwise.

Typically, we have a good ‘gut feel’ as to which individuals a CEO or business leader is likely to get along with, and most find these introductions highly productive even if they don’t ultimately lead to any form of appointment.


Through highly-recommended expert coaches within our affiliate network, we are able to offer executive coaching services to NEDs seeking to maximise their leadership input, the effectiveness of the Boards they lead or to successfully manage key transitions in their NED career.

Areas covered include:

    Making maximum impact in your first NED role or transition to Chair

    Board Evaluation and helping leadership teams work more effectively

    Development/refinement of an effective board CV

    Effective transition from executive to non-executive

    Strategic review, development and curation of your NED portfolio

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Sir Robin Miller, NED – Premier Education Group (Investor/Former Chair – HMV & EMAP plc)

"Thorough, focused, engaging and effective"

Equitas Partners’ expert guidance to Premier Education Group Ltd in its recruitment of a Chair was invaluable. The Group comprises a wide range of business models at different stages of evolution including those navigating complex regulatory environments, all of which service the Activity and Education sectors. Derrick’s approach was thorough, focused, engaging and effective such that we were able to attract a longlist of high quality candidates from beyond our own networks to arrive at a final panel for interview confident of making the appointment. Working alongside a highly entrepreneurial group operating in the backdrop of Covid-19, Derrick was adaptable and sensitive to what was required to ensure this was a successful process. If you are recruiting at very senior levels, consider working with Equitas Partners – I recommend them highly.

Adrian Lurie, Partner – Alcuin Capital Partners

"Honest, direct and responsive"

We have used Equitas Partners for several Chairmen search exercises for our investments. We like their honest, direct and responsive approach, and the level of market expertise and insight they bring to any exercise. In particular, they truly understand the nuances of finding the right individuals who can constructively support CEOs and their respective management teams in high growth, entrepreneurially driven businesses, helping them to maximise market opportunities and successfully navigate key challenges along the way.

Paul Meehan, Chief Financial Officer – Victorian Plumbing Plc

"Immediately grasped our requirement"

As we prepared for the IPO, we needed to appoint two extremely high calibre NEDs to support the Chair on the board. Equitas Partners were highly responsive, immediately grasped our requirement and identified several excellent candidates for consideration, ultimately concluding in two very successful appointments ahead of flotation.

John O’Brien, Chairman – MSIF

"Took the time to fully understand our requirements"

As part of our ongoing strategic development, we were keen to strengthen our boards with a range of differing and complementary skills, and engaged Equitas Partners to conduct a comprehensive nationwide NED search. Throughout the process they were excellent to work with. They took the time to fully understand our requirements, including cultural fit, and ultimately I was very impressed with the range and quality of candidates identified for potential interview. From this exercise, we were not only able to make an excellent appointment, but also identify other high calibre individuals who may be suitable for further roles in the future. I would recommend Equitas Partners highly.

Rebecca Ganz – Serial NED/Chair/Board Adviser (BlueSkeye AI/Bolton NHS FT/Patchwork Health/Premier Education Group)

"Whether you are a Non-Exec candidate or a client recruiting top Board talent, Derrick is superb to work with"

I was introduced to Derrick by a ‘plc Non Exec’ for a Board role and found his approach profoundly helpful. Derrick was both patient and insightful when responding to my many and varied questions, while also providing guidance to understand potential ‘fit’ with the Board culture. As a result, I was at the top of my game for the interview. I was sufficiently impressed by Derrick that I invited him to pitch to recruit a new Chair for Premier Education Group Ltd (Premier), the largest franchise provider of children’s activity in UK. Derrick was successful in winning the work and despite the challenges of a Covid backdrop and working with a Founder led business in a sector, which was very hard hit by the pandemic, delivered high calibre candidates that fit the brief. Quite simply, Derrick was indefatigable in delivering to the brief. The result was impressive such that Premier appointed not only a new Non Exec Chair but also a Deputy Chair from the candidates presented.

If you have the opportunity to work with Derrick, I recommend you take it. You won’t be disappointed.

Mike McGrath – Serial NED Chair (CurrentBody.com/Digital Bridge/Fulfilment Crowd)

"Understands issues in high growth entrepreneurial businesses"

I have worked with Derrick of Equitas Partners as both a candidate and a client. You can quickly tell he truly understands issues in high growth entrepreneurial businesses, and I like his very professional, commercial and responsive style.

Nick Bate – Serial NED Chair (Redcentric Plc/Nasstar Plc/Orka Technology Group/Europa Communications)

"Every conversation underlines a desire to add value"

Over the last 10 years I have benefited from Equitas Partners’ deep recruitment expertise, insight and connections – valued professional perspectives delivered in a ‘down-to-earth’ style. Every conversation underlines a genuine interest in your challenges and a desire to add value. I would have no hesitation in recommending Equitas Partners to you.

Tim Jackson-Smith – Former Chair/NED (Bglobal plc, MBL Group plc and Source BioScience plc), now Partner – Walker Morris LLP

"Immediately grasped our requirement"

As well as real market expertise, I’ve found they also bring wise counsel, objective career guidance, all underpinned by a pragmatic commercial perspective.

Ryan Sorby, Head of North and Scotland – Boost&Co

"An infectious level of enthusiasm and drive"

My experience of working with Derrick at Equitas Partners has been nothing but positive. As well the essentials that you expect to see in a quality headhunter – strong networks, distinctive professionalism and a rigorous commitment to deliver – he brings an infectious level of enthusiasm and drive, a naturally empathetic approach and a knack of being able to make things happen.

Over the last 10 years I have benefited from Equitas Partners’ deep recruitment expertise, insight and connections – valued professional perspectives delivered in a ‘down-to-earth’ style. Every conversation underlines a genuine interest in your challenges and a desire to add value. I would have no hesitation in recommending Equitas Partners to you.

Nick Bate – Serial NED Chair (Redcentric Plc/Nasstar Plc/Orka Technology Group/Europa Communications)