About us

Who we are
Rtesian started in 2016, when the founders, Ian Burns and Aart van Iterson, took a long, hard look at the way recruitment works in Brussels.

The founders of Rtesian felt there had to be a more effective and transparent way to meet the expectations of the increasingly demanding Brussels bubble, and concluded it was time to redefine recruitment. Having owned and run a number of successful businesses, they intrinsically understand the needs of those making management and hiring decisions. Their combination of skills and experience, network of contacts as well as Rtesians’ advisors is what makes Rtesian unique.

Rtesian is managed on a day to day basis by Ian who has more than twenty five years’ experience in recruitment including 7 years in the Brussels bubble and is the key interface with its clients and candidates. Aart supports Ian and the Rtesian team in an advisory capacity. Previously he was joint founder of an award-winning public affairs and communications consultancy and has worked in Brussels for over 25 years. Throughout his career he has managed teams, working daily on the same challenges that our clients face.


We know a lot about what makes Brussels tick, but nobody can know it all. At Rtesian, however, we have an ace up our sleeve. We’ve built a discreet network of specialist advisers, all of whom are seasoned experts in their field. When appropriate, we call on their knowledge and insight to pinpoint candidates, check credentials and get second opinions. When you hire us, you hire them, meaning our search for the ideal candidate covers multiple circles of influence. These influential individuals know Brussels inside out, have their ear to the ground and are ahead of the curve on policy and business trends. Our network of distinguished advisers includes:

  • Megan Richards – Formerly Director of Energy Policy in DG Energy of the European Commission until 2019. She previously held various positions at DG Connect including Director of General Affairs, Director of Converged Networks and Services, Director Coordination and acting Deputy Director General. Megan has also worked as Director of Resource management in the Commission’s Joint Research Centre. Prior to the Commission she worked for UNDP in Africa, the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, the government of Canada, and private law firms.
  • Shada Islam – A well-known and influential Brussels-based commentator on European Union affairs who works independently as an advisor/analyst/strategist and commentator on Europe Africa Asia Geopolitics Trade Migration and Inclusion. She runs her own Brussels-based global strategy and advisory media company, New Horizons Project. Shada is a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Natolin) and a Solvay Fellow at the Vrije University Brussel (VUB). In 2017, she was selected as one of the 20 most influential women in Brussels by the magazine Politico. Until recently, she was Director for Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe, a Brussels-based think tank.
  • Silvana Koch-Mehrin – Founder of the Women in Parliaments Global Forum, a worldwide network of female politicians. Formerly an MEP, she was Vice-President of the European Parliament and First Vice-President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) party. She is a regular speaker at institutions such as the UN, OECD, World Bank and other international fora.
  • Sir Graham Watson – Member of the European Economic and Social Committee. After 20 years as an MEP which included heading a committee, chairing ALDE and receiving a knighthood, Sir Graham founded The Climate Parliament, a global network of legislators working to speed up the switch to renewables. He also recently chaired a high level working group for Commissioner Tibor Navracsics.
What we do
Brussels is unique. It’s a culturally diverse city-state where business leaders, lawmakers and consultants rub shoulders.

Recruitment here isn’t like elsewhere: European Affairs professionals need a special set of skills to work with partners from across the Institutions, the media and industry.

As experienced business owners, Rtesian’s directors understand the huge impact that hiring new staff can have on your organisation. Because we know what works, you can be sure we will only recommend candidates who will not only meet, but will exceed, your expectations. We also have a particular knack for spotting undeveloped potential that can be moulded into an asset to your organisation.

Using a recruiter saves money and time, as well as producing candidates from outside your usual circles. Our expertise and experience mean you have peace of mind. We act quickly, confidently and with discretion to find your perfect hire – what drives us is adding value to your organisation. And unlike other recruitment services, we have a transparent pricing model: it’s tailored so you know exactly what we’re doing for you.

Get in touch to learn more about what Rtesian can do for you or read more about our services here.

The three R’s
Rtesian is powered by three R’s: Research, Reach and Reflect. Their application at every stage of the process ensures our clients get the very best service.
  • Research: Everybody we interact with is unique. By getting to know our clients and candidates thoroughly, we can tailor our services for optimum results.
  • Reach: We rely on an extensive network of experienced, influential people across Brussels, who can discreetly help recommend top candidates.
  • Reflect: We get feedback on everything we do, constantly reassess our processes, and think about what we can do to serve clients better.

You trust us to help make the best hiring decisions, and we do. Transparent pricing, total discretion and dedication to adding value to your organisation mean we’re genuine partners for everything HR-related. We’re quite simply redefining recruitment.

Quality Assurance
We believe we offer the best quality hiring advice of anyone in Brussels, but there are also legal safeguards which apply to the recruitment industry as a whole. Of course, we comply with them: here’s the fine print.

To operate as a recruitment agency in Brussels, you need to be registered with the Brussels Regional Public Service ‘Brussels Economy and Employment’  (Link).  Our registration number is 00575-405-20160408.

We process a lot of information: it goes without saying data protection and your privacy are paramount. You trust us with your most sensitive information, so of course we are registered with the Belgian Commission for the Protection of Privacy (Link). Our registration number is 005067756.