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Dublin-based Darwin Hawkins Backed by James Caan CBE


Finance market leaders, Niall O’Kelly and Mark Baker have partnered with Recruitment Entrepreneur to launch their recruitment consultancy, Darwin Hawkins. The Dublin-based duo are already widely recognised and well connected within Ireland’s financial recruitment sector, having sourced exceptional finance talent in industry, financial services, and professional services for large, multinational companies over the past 10 years.

This is James Caan’s third investment in Ireland in recent months, alongside Hayward Hawk in Belfast and 360 Search in Dublin. Commenting on the portfolio’s rapid expansion into Ireland, James said:

“They say good things come in threes and this is a great time to invest in Ireland. Post-Brexit, we expect to see an economic boom, particularly in the financial services, technology and FinTech sectors. We’re very excited about the portfolio’s future in such a welcoming economic hotspot.”

Co-founders Niall O’Kelly and Mark Baker have significant expertise in both the recruitment and finance industries. Niall qualified as a chartered accountant from PwC Dublin, going on to work in credit analysis and financial reporting. For the last seven years, he’s been Director of FK International, gaining invaluable experience in financial recruitment, as well as in leading a successful team.

On launching their own company, Niall said:

“As Big 4 qualified chartered accountants with over 10 years’ combined recruitment experience, we strongly believe that we have the insight and innovative approach that will enable Darwin Hawkins to become a leader in financial recruitment in Ireland.

“Ireland is an emerging financial hub. Many top international companies across a range of industries have considerable operations here; it is the seventh largest provider of wholesale financial services in the EU and home to all the Big 4 accountancy firms. Its global presence seems set to only increase in the wake of Brexit, making it an incredibly exciting place for financial start-ups such as Darwin Hawkins.”

After qualifying from Deloitte in Dublin as a chartered accountant, Mark worked in the portfolio and relationship management area of a large financial institution before joining the financial recruitment world. He was a Manager at FK International for several years before deciding to start Darwin Hawkins with Niall.

Mark praised the new partnership, stating:

“Recruitment Entrepreneur has a wealth of industry knowledge from an operations, recruitment and finance perspective, which has already provided us with infrastructure efficiencies in these early stages of our business set-up. James has shared invaluable advice about his experiences, leadership style, and helped us design a strategy that will enable us to grow and scale in a way that matches our ambition.”

Abid Hamid, CEO of Recruitment Entrepreneur:

“Niall and Mark’s deep understanding of the Irish market and extensive network of contacts will be invaluable assets as they establish Darwin Hawkins. We believe in the company, and them as entrepreneurs. We’re excited about this new investment and we’re looking forward to working with them to achieve their ambitious objectives for the business.”


During Nathan’s early career, he gained considerable experience from across many industries including Sales, Teaching and Retail, however more recently Nathan has delved into the world Digital Marketing and Publishing. Drawing on his past experiences, Nathan brings all aspects of his knowledge into Recruitment Buzz, possessing great research and social media skills.

Born and bred in Wales, Nathan is as Welsh as they come – living in the heart of the Valleys, Nathan proudly takes place as our resident Welsh speaker. However, Nathan’s knowledge of global understanding exceeds the Welsh borders, having lived in London, parts of the US and Ecuador.

Nathan is a self-proclaimed geek, having gained a degree in Natural Science via the Open University in Wales. In addition to his passion for science, he has a love for technology, nature, art and of course football!


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