Divisional Manager, Building Products Manufacturer

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Collingwood’s multi-billion dollar turnover client is one of the world’s leading names in building products manufacturing, and at the forefront of innovation into sustainable products and solutions.

They required Divisional Manager (at Managing Director level) to be based from their UK head office in the Home Counties.

Following a recent restructure this role was established due to the continued and projected growth throughout the division.  It had experienced rapid growth over the past five years, with revenues forecasted to double during the next 10.  Products are aimed at both the residential and commercial markets. The UK government’s continued drive to its green agenda towards becoming Carbon Zero by 2050 fuels this growth.

It was to be the UK division’s first external hire in some 20 years.



This role was to report into the UK President.

With more than 400 employees currently within the Division (expecting to grow to roughly 500) the position holder would manage five direct reports. Fundamentally, they would be required to provide strategic direction and leadership; ultimately taking ownership for this continued growth through engaging all colleagues across the division with roadmaps to deliver.

Furthermore, they must have an up to date understanding of the UK Government’s decarbonisation strategy and demonstrate experience of promoting products against these needs.

Other than the above, along with the need to be able to get into their Home Counties head office twice a week, the client’s stakeholders wanted a wide-reaching building product search, not to be restricted by their specific range.



The client’s main stakeholders were extremely clear with Collingwood’s Head of Sector – Building Products & Construction, Mark Goldsmith, during briefing stage.  They were very open with the fact that they hadn’t recruited at this level for two decades.  Added to this, their product range is specialist and niche.  This meant that they did not have a clear appreciation for what the wider building materials market could offer by way of a talent pool.

These two factors ensured a consultative approach was required throughout the research and approach phase, thus ensuring both parties stayed aligned.  Areas that Mark could see being a challenge off the back of these factors included:

  • They had little knowledge of salary ranges and what their expected range would yield so benchmarking candidates in the market and providing reports to the client’s stakeholders was a must
  • Average tenure across the division is exceedingly high. A focus on leadership style was important to the client’s stakeholders
  • Interviews were going to be a challenge in themselves, with the client’s need to consult and involve decision makers from UK, European Head Office locations.



Mark Goldsmith conducted a thorough research approach and was also able to lean on the support of his extensive existing network. This led to 87 potential candidates to approach.

Mark shared Collingwood’s online client portal throughout the process providing an overview ofeach stage, allowing both the search and expectations to stay on track.

This had the potential to be an extremely challenging assignment, based on the areas outlined above.  Working with Mark’s main stakeholder from the client side – the UK Human Resource Director – the below ensured they were able to completely align and enabled the HR Director to communicate progress throughout other client stakeholders:

  • After the briefing meeting Mark produced a Strategy Document outlining key points to the discussion about the skillset, target product ranges to headhunt from and timelines to the headhunt. The HR Director circulated this to all stakeholders internally, asking for sign off from all.  Everyone involved knew and agreed to the process.
  • He agreed to weekly update calls with the HR Director. They were able to nip issues in the bud promptly and these calls allowed them to align expectations and changes to the brief quickly – salary demands were quickly realigned by way of example.
  • Upon debriefing the HR Director as to Mark’s interview feedback they discussed how they should approach their interviews; especially given there were so many stakeholders involved. They collectively put a three-stage structure in place, which ensured no mixed messaging from their side and provided candidates at first stage with an opportunity to delve into why they should join



In summary, the following process took place:

Potential candidates identified following initial research undertaken


Targeted candidates interested & CV’s received


Candidates interviewed by Mark Goldsmith

12 with 6 recommended to client

Candidates interviewed by client


Candidates taken through to second and third stage

4 and 3

Candidate offered          



This was a fantastic example of Executive Search best practice; not only from the work done by Mark, but from how the HR Director brought into the process and communicated throughout the process.

About the author
Mark Goldsmith
min read

With 23 years of recruitment experience under his belt, Mark has spent the last 19 focused on Building Products & Construction

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Mark Goldsmith

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