Managing Director – European DIY and Home Décor Products Distributor


Our client is a €300m, European, privately owned distributor of DIY and ‘get someone in’ home improvement and decorative products. The business recently acquired a UK business to help them grow their UK market share and develop a stronger customer portfolio. Customers included the UK DIY and high street retailers, independent retailers, trade customers and specification sales markets. With passionate and driven family owners, the business is led by its entrepreneurial culture, product innovation and strong values.


Well known within the UK market; with a strong customer portfolio and a re-established sales team, the business required a commercially minded Managing Director to lead the UK business into the next phase of their development. The new Managing Director would be required to lead the team through ever-changing market demands; constant fast-paced development of e-commerce, along with the need to continue the development of their customer supply chain and marketing. 


The UK Managing Director was required to lead the UK sales, marketing and operational teams, as well as develop and manage the relationships with key customers in the business. Through their strong leadership, the new Managing Director needed to adopt the European head office’s vision and values and help emulate these in the UK business. Strong collaboration with the head office and owners of the business was also be required, in particular around local market development and business operations.


Collingwood invested significant upfront time with the client, visiting their European head office to not only understand the experiences required for the role but more importantly the vision and values of the business and the cultural fit required. After taking the brief Collingwood put together a detailed job description, company profile and package details on our client’s behalf, along with agreeing on a target list of businesses and sectors to headhunt into. It was also agreed that Collingwood would offer a leadership transition programme for the first 6 months of the new recruit’s time in the role. Working in partnership with the successful candidate and client, we would offer a customised programme that would allow a smooth transition during the change, along with a focus on objectives and direction.


Collingwood researched and identified a target list of 115 individuals at Director level in competitor and similar sector focused businesses. After telephone screening interested candidates Collingwood then conducted face to face competency based interviews of 12 longlisted candidates. From this longlist, we presented a shortlist of 4 candidates to be interviewed by the client. First stage interviews were conducted in the UK followed by final interviews at the European head office, where the client offered the candidates a chance to great a true flavour of their vision, values and ways of working. Collingwood then worked with the client to put together an attractive package for the successful candidate along with managing the process through to a successful acceptance of the offer. Collingwood then conducted a Hogan Leadership Assessment with the successful candidate that formed the foundation for the leadership transition programme that Collingwood would offer during the first 6 months in the role, ensuring a smooth transition was achieved.


I have worked with Collingwood for the past 18 months on several positions. I have found them to be very professional; thorough, a good listener, open and detailed. Most importantly all the vacancies they've worked on, from Account Managers to Managing Directors/Country Managers have been filled very successfully within approximately 2 months.