Managing Director – Joinery Manufacturer

The Company

Collingwood was approached by this high-end joinery manufacturer to recruit a newly created Managing Director post. 

Established in the 19th century they are recognised throughout Scotland as one of the foremost manufacturers of high-quality building products for both commercial and residential projects. 

The site had the capability to mass produce for larger projects, having consistently invested in machinery and factory expansions. The site could afford a further 40% drive in production. The remit for the new role would, therefore, focus on increasing the company’s commercial offering.

The family owners were also looking to take more of a back seat in the day-to-day running.

The role

A new opportunity for a Managing Director had been created and would be integral to the company’s future vision and profitable growth. 

Primary focus revolved around producing a robust business plan to develop the commercial offering, maximising project wins within Scotland and developing the business into England. Within 6 to 12 months the appointee would take full control of the management of the business.

The Business Challenge

The main challenges posed by the specification were;

  • Location - Not being based in the central belt of Scotland, competitors were few and far between.
  • Experience - The client was very clear they wanted someone from a bespoke, joinery background.
  • Remuneration – Although growing, Collingwood client is a family owned based on little awareness of what makes for a competitive package.
  • Candidate specification - The client was looking for an MD to bring commercial sales and an operational outlook to the business. Looking for this “hybrid” style person would provide an extra challenge.
  • Cultural fit - Many of their staff are long-standing and although the family was keen to bring someone in who could create a change culture internally, driving commercial project work, in particular, they did not want this to be of the detriment to their team. Personality fit was therefore of utmost importance.

The Solution

Having worked within the fenestration market in Scotland previously (although admittedly some time ago) Mark Goldsmith, Collingwood's Building Product, and Construction Consultant had a number of names and businesses in mind to contact from the off. Through research, Mark presented a list of suggested targets to the manufacturer and in addition, the client knew of eight small, niche manufacturers they were keen to add. 

Two weeks into the approach phase it was evident that candidates were going to be thin on the ground. Mark, therefore, drove a further consultation to open the search out; agreeing on a further course of action, Mark doubled the number of target organisations on the list. Exposure to the commercial, specification marketplace was paramount to the client and so Collingwood researched allied sectors such as ironmongery, aluminium door sets, cladding, curtain walling etc.

In total 84 individuals were identified and approached (around 40 of which came from direct competition in the shape of MD’s and Sales Directors).

Due to the manufacturer having never interviewed at this level, Mark and Collingwood's in-house HR specialist held two conference calls with the stakeholders to outline how best to approach interviews. An interview itinerary and sample questions based upon initial cultural and technical specification were agreed. Within this itinerary, importantly, Collingwood highlighted how the manufacturer best present themselves, and areas to focus on when selling the position to interviewees. 

The Result

Of the 15 individuals interested in the position, Mark met with 8 to assess them face-to-face. Due to the manufacturer having never had a person in this position before, it was agreed they should meet 6 of these individuals. In Mark's opinion three stood out, but felt interviewing a broader range, from cross-functional backgrounds, would allow them to refine what was needed.

All 6 were interviewed. Feedback on 5 of the 6 was strong, with the management team (consisting of the two owners and a business consultant) concluding the one rejected fit in technically but culturally would not work. It was agreed to further refine a second interview process, bringing back the best 2 for a more relaxed meeting. The preferred candidate was offered. By nature of their remit, the preferred candidate did not live within comfortable commuting distance. Mark, therefore, worked with both candidate and client to organise and negotiate the offer to a satisfactory conclusion.