TEL: LONDON +44 (0)20 7920 4800 / MANCHESTER +44 (0)161 641 1000


GatenbySanderson is a market-leading provider of recruitment, assessment and development solutions across public services and the not-for-profit sector.  The business has a particular expertise in sourcing chief executives, senior management teams and non-executive board members within complex, highly-visible and regulated markets that frequently undergo change.


The company was owned by its founder and two Joint Managing Partners. The business has successfully established a market-leading national reputation for its work in Local and Central Government, Health and Social Care and is rapidly expanding within the Education, Regulation and Not-for-Profit sectors. In early 2014, GatenbySanderson’s founder was keen to explore a sale of the business and Primary won a competitive auction process.

The Big Idea

Primary were introduced to the management team in spring 2014 and very quickly formed a strong relationship. The company has a dominant position and strong brand in its core UK Local and Central Government markets, with high barriers to entry through sole-supplier / preferred supplier status with many clients, its expertise in those markets and its proprietary technology platform.

The Grand Plan

The business has a unique team-based culture and there is an exciting opportunity to replicate the success it has had in its core sectors in other nascent public sector verticals. The business’s relentless focus on quality, its strong team-driven culture and impressive proprietary technology produce consistently outstanding results for its clients.  Management have identified a number of compelling areas for further investment and innovation to help the business achieve its ambitious growth plans.

The Bottom Line

Expanding into new sector verticals, increasing the relative importance of interim leadership and ongoing development and investment in its proprietary technology will enhance GatenbySanderson’s strategic value.

GS logo

Investment Summary

Date of investment:  November 2014
Deal status:  Current

Company website:
For more information talk to:  Alistair Armstrong or Oliver Melliss

GS Tacks

"It became clear very early in our relationship with Primary that we shared the same values. Having established a culture where people and service excellence matter most, and where business focus and enterprising ambition deliver results, we were looking for a partner who supported these principles and would challenge us to differentiate them further.

From the outset, the Primary team immersed themselves in all aspects of the business and impressed us enormously with their insight, clarity and grasp of our markets. It is this incisiveness that will make a significant contribution to the board as we look to accelerate profitable growth, while continuing to add tangible value to our clients and candidates. During the complexities of the management buy-out, their unerring support of management gave us a real confidence boost and reaffirmed that we had made a good decision."

Martin Tucker, Managing Partner, GatenbySanderson

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