Vice President Sales – Industrial Automation - EMEA
Our client design, manufacture and market high-speed electronic cables, connectivity products and related items for the specialty electronics and data networking markets. They focus on segments of the worldwide cable and connectivity market that require highly differentiated, high-performance products. They add value through design, engineering, excellence in manufacturing, product quality and customer service.
Bringing together their business know-how and technologically advanced products the company has established a strong reputation for quality, setting, maintaining and exceeding new standards of performance and reliability. In addition, our client is committed to fulfilling the highest standards in terms of ethical conduct and integrity at all times, in all places.
Collingwood have partnered this client for the last 6 years, working proactively across EMEA to source and approach high calibre candidates within a number of industries. As a result of this in-depth partnership, we were asked to partner them on this senior role of vital importance in the future of their business in EMEA.
As part of the company’s succession planning, we were given an in-depth brief to headhunt for a VP Sales EMEA, this person would be responsible for managing the sales operation of a circa €500 million pound technology business and a team of 250 sales and support staff.
Culturally, this person needed to fit in with an international, matrix-led organisation and be used to being autonomous and accountable for themselves and their team. We were looking for a dynamic individual who had a strong academic background and proven track record in managing cross-border sales teams in a technical solutions environment. This was a key position for the company as they entered a period of restructuring globally, we were looking for someone with experience of organisational change and who would thrive in company post restructure.
This person could be based anywhere in EMEA, this brings its own challenge for a headhunter, focussing on the real core cultural and operational competencies spanning a number of different countries and cultures, as well as the practical and logistical difficulties of working at this level.
Having built our network in industrial automation and telecoms over the last 6 years, we had a strong network to start with to gain recommendations. We then put together an EMEA target list focussing on Sales Directors and Managers within international companies in a number of different sectors working to a criteria of looking for those high calibre and high achievers in each company.
One challenge was to find people at the right level but with such a large team and financial responsibility. We were looking for those that displayed strong commercial acumen, a strong leadership style and the desire to build their careers with a global leader. A challenge for a headhunter when attracting top talent is that these people will not be looking for a job and will be well looked after by their current employers, therefore we needed to sell our client’s business well, but also really understand the prospective candidate’s motivations and commitment.
In our initial approach, we spoke to a large volume of people, on more detailed telephone interviews we were able to identify those that we wanted to interview face-to-face. Our consultants managing this project interviewed candidates in London, Barcelona, Madrid, Eindhoven and Frankfurt, at one point covering three of these cities in one day! These meetings also allowed Collingwood to gain a real and thorough understanding of the personalities and motivation of the candidates and gain a further understanding of the cultural fit.
A strong shortlist of 4 candidates was submitted. All 4 candidates had different backgrounds but shared a common theme that they would be able to assimilate into the unique organisational culture of our client.
The candidates were all selected to go forward onto the client’s selection process, which involved face-to-face interviewing, online assessments and psychological assessments.
All of our candidates fitted the criteria of the role well and our client was excited by the quality of our shortlist. They all came from a background with an international industrial company, had studied to an MBA level and were part of their own company’s high potential programme.
After choosing the best candidate, Collingwood were able to manage the offer process smoothly to ensure that we secured the candidate and both parties were happy going forward.