Managing Director – industrial & residential door systems
Having recently worked with the German head office on a separate executive role for a UK based acquisition, we were pleased to be approached to partner them again. Reporting to the German head office, the Managing Director would be responsible for a £60 million operation based in the East Midlands (€1bn global turnover building product group).
In the UK they serve three main markets – the established house builder market, industrial end users and the growing after sales service sector.
THE ROLE AND ITS CHALLENGES
Historically the UK arm had been poorly people managed, with the exiting Managing Director having managed dictatorially. The aforementioned routes to market were fragmented and departments isolated.
The immediate opportunities for this company lay in sales revenue growth. The client was, therefore, appoint either a Sales Director from a £20m+ operation who is ready for their first venture into a broader MD role, or a ready made MD looking for their next move. A strong, collaborative leadership style was needed along with a strategic approach to developing mature and fledgling markets.
Although not essential, it was of benefit if shortlisted candidates had an appreciation of working with or for a German head quartered business. Understanding a Germanic culture would be a real benefit.
This was a sensitive position for a couple of reasons. Having taken the brief from our main contact in Germany, our Head of Building Products, Mark Goldsmith, highlighted the importance of agreeing a revised process to ensure integrity of employer branding and limited release of their name to the market was upheld.
Although strong exposure to the wider building products market was likely, of equal focus was the industrial end users arena, along with experience of devising and improving on an after-sales maintenance program. Mark, therefore, suggested and researched into material handling equipment / conveyors, forklift trucks, industrial flooring, industrial roofing, temporary accommodation, structural steel, manufacturing machinery, manufacturing robotics / automation, amongst more traditional building product groups. Importantly, and somewhat refreshingly, this was not about a “black book of contacts” with the head office not interested in taking people from competition.
Mark approached 47 regionally based manufactures, engaging with both their Sales Directors and MD’s. The head office was stringent on what they were looking to budget for this position, although they appreciated this would limit the results.
Working with our contact in further shaping the research, this ultimately led Mark to sharing seven candidates from the approach phase. This was reduced to six for him to meet and assess fully.
Upon holding a conference call with the German head office, Mark and his main contact agreed that four should be met by her for first interview stage. Two were progressed to second and then final interview stage, with Mark managing the process to include Thomas assessments. The preferred candidate came from the door sector and had experience of setting up and running a profitable aftermarket revenue stream for two strong names in the building product industry. Admittedly by chance, although English, one of his parents was German and he had worked for two German owned manufacturers. He therefore understood with nuances of working for such a manufacturer.
THE IMPACT THE NEW MANAGING DIRECTOR HAS MADE
Coming up to a year in the role and the new MD is thoroughly loving the move, his team and relationship with the head office in Germany. Headline information is that revenue has grown 10% on the previous year, with the UK staff having just enjoyed their largest annual bonus since its introduction. Morale has dramatically increased irrespective of wider market conditions.
Performance has increased markedly within the industrial business unit, with a solid upturn in orders over the past six months. Additionally, the MD has revamped the servicing program, which is to be launched shortly. The German head office likes his approach so much that he is presenting the offering to other global leaders as best practice.
“Having recently joined a major manufacturer of doors for home and industry as their new UK MD, I have experienced at first-hand how Mark works with both client and candidate. His appreciation of the clients requirements was first rate and his understanding of how his client works was insightful and ensured that they had a very strong candidate list.
His interaction with myself was of a continuous high level and I can only commend his measured and honest feedback. It has meant that I have gone into a role where the brief has matched the reality. I now look forward to working with Mark on future company assignments as and when the need arises. Well Done.”