Sales Director - Speciality Food Business


Our client is a £80m, short shelf-life, specialty food business. Family owned, the business has seen successful growth with the leading supermarket multiples, discount supermarkets and, most recently, the food service sector.

Our client prides itself on its high levels of customer service and quality, and the strong reputation that they have built in the market. 


With sustained levels of growth, the business identified the need to establish an accomplished board of directors; in order to move the business to the next level of its aspirations.

With a strong board in place, all that remained was the recruitment of a Sales Director, in order to share commercial responsibilities with the owner, and introduce new commercial ideas and practices to the business.


Working alongside the owner of the business, the role required the Sales Director to closely manage and further develop the relationship with their number one customer; one of the leading UK supermarkets. It was also important for the individual to closely manage and develop the sales team, as well as develop new business, in particular in the profitable food-service sector. The individual also needed to have experience of working for a short shelf-life food business, as well experience managing the leading UK multiples. 


The biggest challenge for Collingwood was finding the right cultural fit for the business. Collingwood invested significant time up front with the owner and other board members, to not only understand the skills set required but more importantly the personality and the profile of the individual. Collingwood also toured their facility, as well as learn more about their customer profiles and recent success stories. Collingwood was then fully briefed and equipped to pitch the role in complex detail to all candidates we would engage with and later meet face-to-face.  

After taking the brief Collingwood researched, identified and approached 150 individuals in the market. Maintaining the high standards set by Collingwood and the client’s prerequisites, this was reduced to 12 candidates’ face-to-face meetings, as well as conducting behavioral profiles on each individual. A final shortlist of 7 candidates was then presented to our client.


An in-depth two-stage interview process, including site tours, was supported by Collingwood’s comprehensive interview notes and behavioral profiles. After providing our salary benchmark from our up-to-date market research, our client was able to offer an attractive package to the selected candidate.

As with all our assignments, Collingwood then managed all contract negotiations between all parties resulting in a successful placement.