- 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.