Plant Manager - FMCG Food Manufacturer


Having previously partnered our client to recruit a National Account Director for their commercial team, we were approached to recruit for a senior role on the operational side of the business. Our client is a category-leading confectionery business with instantly recognisable brands. The business has grown rapidly in the UK, promoting further capital and people investment to achieve robust targets. The business is proud to have retained a philosophy of encouraging employee empowerment while maintaining very high standards and achievement expectations from board level to factory operative.


Successive years of growth has resulted in the manufacturing facility having insufficient capacity to meet market demand. With the Operations Director taking more responsibility for the development of a new manufacturing site, a brand new role for a Plant Manager was created. The role would take the daily running responsibilities of the Operations Director to allow him to help further expand and develop the operation.


Our brief was to headhunt someone with experience of working for a fast-paced, high volume food manufacturer. The main responsibilities for the role included developing and implementing a strategic operating plan to allow the site to continue to manufacture high-quality products, for a market that continues to show strong demand. They would also work with the Operations Director to formulate a plan to allow the site to integrate into to and work alongside the newly developed manufacturing site. It was important that the person showed strong people management and development skills to ensure the factory had the future resource and skills to meet the high demands of their market.


Using our executive search expertise and knowledge of the food and FMCG manufacturing sector, Collingwood compiled and presented a target list of businesses to our client. From this list, Collingwood identified and approached over 90 individuals who would meet the agreed specification.

Those headhunted candidates fitting our client’s needs were then progressed through to face-to-face interviews with Collingwood. At this stage in the process, we confirmed their experience, skills, personality, their ambitions and more importantly, their cultural fit matched the brief. Collingwood also provided behavioural profile tests on all shortlisted candidates, giving our client further evidence on their competencies and cultural fit.

Throughout the process, we also provided regular updates to the client with feedback and market intelligence on the candidate market, salary benchmarking and any reasons as to why the role was rejected by target candidates. 


We were able to shortlist five highly experienced candidates with relevant manufacturing change and people development experience. Two candidates were identified as high potential for the role and invited for a final stage with an offer being accepted by their chosen candidate. The candidate had to relocate for this role, Collingwood helped with advice and support on this to ensure the placement was made without any issues.