Operations Manager – Speciality Aerospace Metals, France


Our Client is a global supplier of specialty metals for the aerospace industry. Their manufacturing sites are based at various worldwide locations and all boast the very best processing available. With notable clients in Aerospace manufacturing, they see themselves as an ideal partner for all aerospace approved metals requirements.

The company has a proud 120 year history, manufacturing and supplying metals to a range of industries and have grown alongside the global aerospace industry. These days they are an integral part of the supply chain and manufacturer for Airbus and other OEMs. Their European Headquarters are based in England with one of their largest manufacturing plants in North West France.


With a senior team spread globally they are faced with the challenge of managing the practical, logistical and cultural demands of talent acquisition and retention.


Collingwood’s challenge was to find a new Operations Manager for their manufacturing plant in North West France, responsible for 30 operatives, team leaders and a process capability of €30million. This was a highly visible and exciting role, responsible for delivering an efficient and profitable business unit in line with the company's business plans and objectives. Our brief was to headhunt prospective candidates from metal processing industries. They must possess a knowledge of the global aerospace supply chain and be working in an international business. The role reported into a senior member of the company who is based in Canada and as a result we would be working to a strict timetable to ensure that interviews coincided with their schedule to be in France.


Although given a challenging timescale, we mapped out the market place looking specifically at aerospace suppliers in France, targeting companies local to the site but also looking at wider country search to ensure no stone was left unturned. We identified and approached over 100 candidates taking advantage of the fact they had to be English speakers to assess the competency in this area on the first call. We assessed interested candidates on their knowledge of LEAN working practices, personality fit, ambitions and leadership styles and skills. We travelled to France to meet with a long list of ten people and presented a shortlist of 4 candidates for the company to meet.


All 4 candidates had different backgrounds, but shared one common theme, that they would be able to assimilate into the global organisational culture of our client and be successful operating with colleagues in the UK and Canada.

The candidates were all selected to go forward on to the client’s selection process, where one of our candidates was appointed quickly and they have now settled well in to their new role.