Meet the team: Derek MacFeate

August 2022

Derek MacFeate is MM Search’s Founding Managing Partner and his passion for people and professional drive have led to him becoming one of the most respected names in the recruitment industry.

Derek MacFeate, Founding Managing Partner, MM Search

I started MM Search…
To keep challenging myself. I had always wanted to work for myself, but I felt that I would prefer to start a business with someone else. Kenny and I work well together, and our dynamic was a catalyst for us making the leap to start our own business.

Our Non-Executive Chairman, Mike Lees, also played a significant role in our decision to found our own company. He truly believed that we could do it and his confidence in our abilities gave us that additional push to go for it.

I decided I wanted to work in recruitment when…
A friend recommended Michael Page to me. I was a graduate trainee at Marks & Spencer at the time, but I did my homework on Michael Page and they really seemed to be going places. They were experiencing huge growth and I really liked the energy of the company and the team members I met with. There were no politics and it felt very straightforward; if you did well, your career progressed and I loved that.

I ended up working with the team for 20 years, it was a fantastic company with a high-octane working environment and truly exceptional people.

The first thing I do when I get to the office is…
The day starts way before I get to the office! I check my phone first thing in the morning to see what’s happened overnight, there are always new things to prioritise. Then I’ll spend the first hour of the day bringing some order to my inbox and reviewing what needs to be tackled.

My working day involves…
I usually dedicate the morning to current projects and ensuring everything is progressing as it should be and, in the afternoon, I’ll focus on our overall strategy and the bigger picture. I’m also a bit of a night owl so I tend to work into the wee small hours, looking at new ways that we can challenge the industry.

Kenny and I are constantly striving to find ways that we can make MM Search the best executive search firm. Having our own company gives us the freedom and zest to find new ways of operating.

As we grow, it’s also really important that I set aside time each day to ensure everyone in the team is happy. We’re still of a size that we can speak to everyone every day and making that time to review and check in is absolutely crucial.

My greatest professional strength is…
My drive and my confidence. Professional confidence comes with experience, and I believe in my abilities and can back myself. I’m also quite forgiving and if people give me their all, I’ll be there for them too.

The highlight of my career so far was…
Seeing the MM Search name go up on our offices. Knowing that we’d created a successful brand was the best feeling, and now we’re going from strength to strength.

The thing I love most about working with the MM Search team is…
Seeing the team develop and blossom has been amazing. We’ve been receiving very positive feedback and knowing that the team are enjoying being part of the business we’ve created is brilliant.

When I’m not at work, you’ll usually find me…
Sport is hugely important to me, I especially enjoy rugby and cricket and I played both to a good level. MM Search is now the main sponsor of Greenock Wanderers Rugby Club and Greenock Cricket Club, both of which are very close to my heart. I also coach the under-14s in rugby and cricket, it’s a big commitment, but I absolutely love it. My own kids, Freddie and Lexi, are also involved with sports – I hope to see them in blue jerseys one day!

I also love the social side of sport and a great day out for me is getting dressed up for a rugby lunch. The Wanderers do them very well, and we’ll often take clients along to enjoy some brilliant rugby and brilliant hospitality and maybe even a few drinks.

My motto is…
Don’t do anything by halves. If you’re going to do it, go for it and give it your very best.

My goals for the rest of 2022 are to…
Continue to grow MM Search. We’re focusing on scaling the business with the right people to ensure that the brand is held in as high regard as possible from a customer service perspective.

My secret skill/party piece is…
I think I can do more sambuca shots than any other person in the world!

What was the last gift you gave someone?
I gave my friend a bottle of whisky for his 60th birthday. We used to play rugby together, he was the captain of the Greenock Wanderers when I was vice captain.  

If you were an animal, what would you be?
A grizzly bear!

How would your best friend describe you in 3 words?
Loyal, driven and entertaining.

How would your colleagues describe you in three words?
Driven, hardworking and loyal.

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