Executive Director - Garments


Our client is the UK £250 million subsidiary of a $2 billion family-owned business based in Hong Kong. Established for nearly 90 years, the company is an international designer and manufacturer of garments for high street retailers and has enjoyed consistent double-digit revenue growth for over 10 years. Unlike its global, “blue-chip” competition, the business has been founded on both a moral compass and a real focus on its people. It is also an agile and creative organisation which listens to customer problems and offers truly bespoke and innovative solutions. Its success has seen it grow from 1 category to 16 in one high profile UK retailer and its standing as an operationally critical partner.


Collingwood partner this client to provide advice and a headhunting solution for a succession planning need at an Executive Director level. Due to an imminent internal promotion, an opportunity was created for an Executive Director to join the business. Our client was undecided if they needed candidates from their own garment sector or if they should open it up to the general consumer products industry. Collingwood were able to provide management intelligence in both areas so that the client could decide who would add the most value to their business.


The Executive Director role had a broad remit which included commercial, manufacturing and supply chain. It oversaw an incredibly complex organisation structure due to the diverse product range and its seasonality. Reporting to the Managing Director, key to the role was its alignment to a strategically critical customer, the business development into a range of target UK retailers to achieve diversification and fresh revenue streams and a strong leader and manager of people was an essential.

The client was keen to bring in someone from outside the garment industry to add a fresh approach and new ideas to a very established business but was equally nervous about an individual’s credibility internally and with their customers if not from their sector.


Collingwood’s consumer products practice invested a lot of time with our client’s Chief Executive and Managing Director to really understand the company, the role and most importantly their culture. We developed an in-depth assignment specification providing detail around the company, its employer branding, the job specification, candidate profile including behaviours and core competencies and lastly a recommended remuneration package aimed at enticing an extremely high calibre appointment.

We delivered a proactive headhunting solution which required us utilising our strong network in FMCG covering a broad range of food and non-food companies including garment manufacturers. We arrived at a candidate long list consisting of 10 individuals from the client’s sector in addition to a cross-section of those outside it.

We consulted with our client to discuss each individual in detail before agreeing on a select longlist that we then met face to face to present our client and conduct an in-depth competency and behaviourally focused interview.

The client interviewed 5 fully qualified candidates that were presented with detailed interview notes, 3rd party psychometric assessments and our expert opinion based on our 15 years delivering senior roles for consumer products organisations.


Following 2 further interview, our client made a successful appointment.