UK Management Team

  • Managing Director
  • Finance Director


Sector: Manufacturing / specialised converted products

Corporate Headquarters: USA

Client location: UK

Our client is a long-established market leading manufacturer of specialised converted products for brand owners, specifiers, designers and manufacturers. A very high percentage of products is exported, and the client’s own sales team is complemented by agents and distributors around the world. They were consistently profitable, but both top line sales and profitability had stagnated for a number of years.


Their senior management team – both the Managing and Financial Directors, after decades in role, were approaching retirement. The USA based Group Chief Executive commissioned Derek Ward to identify a strong shortlist of candidates to replace the Managing Director, and then, following that, to work with the new Managing Director to lead a search for the Financial Director role.

The overriding requirement was to put in place a Managing Director who had strong and genuine credentials in both Sales and Manufacturing Operations – not just “experience” of those environments but a track record of being able to drive both areas forward. Significant sales expansion as well as the introduction of world class manufacturing processes were the top strategic priorities.

In addition, the new appointee would be expected to lead and role model professional relationship management skills and to put in place an internal talent management process to empower and improve and develop first line management contribution to the business.


In-depth discussions were held with the outgoing Managing and Financial Directors to record their views on the local UK issues, culture and challenges and to understand the reporting relationships with their USA Corporate Office. In addition, lengthy conversations with the Corporate CEO and HRD enabled Derek to gain their perspective and objectives for the UK based subsidiary.

Three avenues were used to identify a relevant candidate audience – targeted research, profiling of our extensive candidate base and quality advertising, including sector specific media. Although we researched and identified candidates from within the sector, other non – sector people were included whose background combined strong sales and manufacturing operations achievements.

In all eighty – eight candidate applications were reviewed against this challenging profile and Derek held in depth face to face discussions with twelve. From these, seven were submitted to both USA and UK management for their initial review. Four were shortlisted by the Client.


It was agreed that the UK management would hold meetings with all four shortlisted candidates and provide feedback to their USA colleagues, although in the end the hiring decision would be made in the USA.

The USA and outgoing UK management teams held significantly different views in respect of the future direction of the UK business, and this was reflected in their opinions regarding shortlisted candidate profiles and their respective suitability for the role. The challenge for Derek was to understand these divergences and to keep all candidates briefed and on track throughout the process.

Following the UK interviews the USA discussions involved two phases:

In depth Skype interviews were held with all four candidates from which they selected two for final interview at the Corporate HQ in the USA.

All communications and interview arrangements throughout the entire process were handled by Derek and his team, including the travel arrangements for final interviews.

The two selected candidates spent two days at HQ meeting the CEO, VPHR, VP Sales and Marketing before the offer was made to the successful individual.

The appointee has since provided very successful leadership in all key areas of the business – his proven skills in both international Sales, Marketing and in depth understanding of the operational challenges and opportunities have brought significant added value to the business.

In addition, as originally intended, Derek assisted him in the search for and eventual appointment of a strong Financial Director. Together the new team has made material progress in delivering sales growth and incremental profit.

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Derek Ward

I have worked with many Recruitment professionals, yet when it comes to sourcing top quality management Derek has always responded with a level of professionalism and insight that I have generally found lacking in other search firms.

Derek makes it his priority to wholly understand my business, its commercial imperatives as well as the cultural environment, and uses that knowledge to seek out great candidates.

I believe that Derek’s many successful years in challenging senior management roles, prior to his involvement in Search, have provided him with an unusually high level of insight and empathy that have resulted in many well matched long – term appointments for my business.

Ian Hodgson | Group Managing Director

Andrew Hobman

My experience of working with Andrew is that he is a very diligent recruitment professional. We gave Andrew an assignment to locate half a dozen specialist transformation roles to support an urgent need. Andrew located a healthy volume of potential candidates and we conducted the selection process and ended up with very good appointments.

I have no hesitation in recommending Andrew to either Client or Candidate as I think what makes Andrew different to other recruiters is that he takes time to listen to what the client wants. He then stays on that message and doesn’t try to make marginal candidates fit. The speed and candidate quality provided by Andrew and his team has been impressive.

Steven Cooper | Transformation and Programme Leader

Andrew Hobman

Andrew Hobman and the team at Brunswick have supported us in recruiting for a range of leadership and specialist roles in a number of European countries. They take the time to understand our requirements thoroughly and we have been consistently impressed with the depth and quality of the short lists they have presented to us. Unlike many Executive Search firms they also demonstrate significant flexibility in working with us to identify potential recruits when we have not yet finally settled on our plans. They are a great partner for us and have delivered real value for money to our business.

Ken Palframan | HR Director, Fabory Group

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