Head of Licensing - Party Products


Our client is a $1.8 billion global manufacturer of novelty party goods selling their products through grocers, supermarkets, distributors and specialist outlets.


Traditionally the business had used distributors throughout Europe and had been managed from the US head office, recently the strategy had changed and a new Managing Director in the UK had started and was charged with changing the UK and European business to be more dynamic and self-sufficient. The business was also busy acquiring new companies, including a £10million fancy dress business based in the North of the UK.


The business identified the need for a new Head of Licensing for the European business. The last Licensing Manager had left 12 months previously and the role had since been managed reactively by a number of different people, as a result, there was no consistent, proactive strategy within this area. The acquisition of the new business relied heavily on licensed goods, so this role was now essential. The role would manage existing and prospective licenses with the likes of Disney, HIT Entertainment, BBC, Hasbro and Fox.


The role required an expert Licensing Manager with knowledge of managing multi licenses applicable to a variety of different products. We initially targeted local candidates because the role was more about generic skills and experience, we then went on to target industries as diverse as food production businesses (celebratory cakes), children’s shoe producers and stationery manufacturers. We also built up a network of licensing companies so we could talk to them in order to gain recommendations. The world of licensing is well networked and people tend to move freely from producers of goods to the likes of Disney, which helped us build our network, although the hub of this seems to be based in London. We interviewed a number of people from a prospective list and were impressed with the people we met.


After a comprehensive search and interview process, the shortlist that we produced contained 4 candidates of different backgrounds, but all shared a common theme that the candidates would be able to assimilate into our client's unique organisational culture. After a first round of interviews, there were two candidates that stood out as front-runners, our client did comment that they would have employed both if given the opportunity. The successful candidate came from a company that manufactured children’s footwear under license. The new Head of Licensing joined the business in April 2011 and since then has been instrumental in the growth of the EMEA business. The company has continued to acquire new businesses and go from strength to strength. In terms of the candidate's career, they are now part of the senior management team and have increased their profile both internally and externally, taking on new responsibilities in the company, winning new business and continuing to grow their status in the licensing community.