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Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham

Associate Director

​Michael Cunningham is an Associate Director at Rutherford, a London-based recruitment firm that specialises in compliance, financial crime, legal, cyber security, risk, strategy, and operation searches within financial services.

After completing a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Politics at the University of Southampton, Michael started his career in recruitment as an Associate Consultant for a large search firm, working his way up to Business Manager within the interim space. Michael has built a strong, valuable network, comprising of top compliance and financial crime talent and repeat clients.

After several years of building his career as a head-hunter, Michael joins Rutherford as Associate Director, heading up the contracts and interim team. Michael will specialise in placing top candidates in compliance and financial crime interim roles within the fintech, payments, consultancy, exchange and retail banking sectors.


What does success look like to you?

Success to me, is being increasingly useful to the people around me, whether that be clients, candidates, or colleagues. It’s not a final destination, but a development of the extent to which people feel they can rely on you for help and advice both professionally and personally.


What is the best part of working with contractors?

The best part of working with contractors, is the variety of conversations you end up having. As a contract recruiter, I spend much more of my time on the phone than anything else. I get to have in-depth chats about really interesting projects, which are often at the forefront of market developments. I often work with the same consultants on multiple projects, so I develop relationships for the long term, which means I can give my honest and genuine recommendation on the candidates I put forward for roles.


Where does your sector knowledge come from?

I have the benefit of being out and about on a daily basis meeting people. Coffee catch-ups with some of the top Compliance and Financial crime consultants in the market, mean that I get my industry knowledge from the people most involved with regulation and projects developing the world of Financial Services.


What is the most unexpected thing you’ve ever done?

Sat next to Roy Hodgson on the tube, unfortunately he wasn’t interested in any of my roles.


Are there any changes to the market?

Technology. Not the most surprising answer, but governance issues will surely be met with technological adaptions. Whether it be AI based KYC checks or rules based coded trading infrastructure, we will see an increasing shift towards technology being imbedded within governance. We will also see a shift away from traditional consulting models, to boutique, bespoke services for consultancy issues and an associated movement of talent off the back of this.