VP General Manager - Enterprise, EMEA

THE CLIENT

This assignment was commissioned by the Vice President of an enterprise-orientated division of a global $2.5 billion US technology corporation. About to be promoted, he wished to acquire his successor as soon as possible. This division had been part of a heritage part of the business and today it delivered premium grade solutions relating to audio video, copper and fibre cabling, connectors and components. Markets included data centres, stadia, hospitality, healthcare and smart buildings.

The circa €100 million -€150 million business comprised just under 40 FTEs located in two EU locations in addition to three factories located across Europe, some with their own well-developed go-to-market networks. Overall key objectives at that time were quite tactical including revenue growth in key business areas, with specific targets for sales channels showing particular promise.

The business had been revitalised structurally by the incumbent and had become a suitable incubation point for a new leader to position him or herself for future leadership development. Mindful of acquisitive and organic growth, this client was hungry to bring on board a leader who could move into more senior roles at pace.

THE ROLE

Reporting into the board-level EVP located in the US and with the incumbent transferring to the US, this leader needed to be autonomous, a fast learner and someone who could shape a longer term vision for this business unit, where strong day-to-day performance had become normalised by the incumbent. Given this client was a premium brand, it was unlikely this leader would come from a direct competitor. It was more likely that this person would have a background as a leader in a company further up the supply chain or in a client-type business. In short, they would bring much to the table regarding their pedigree, skill-set and personal expectations. 

More specifically, it was imperative that this individual was comfortable in a very numbers driven corporate culture where detail-based accuracy was valued in addition to strategic thinking. Clearly, this person had to have the personality to carry a globally disparate white and blue collar workforce but not be the type of person who had come to rely on his personality, relationships and opportunities alone.

Moreover, given the global nature of the role and company this leader had to be of a global mind-set and, more than likely, be supported at home by a family with similar aspirations. All parties involved in this search were cognisant that the real ROI of this placement would only be realised when this leader was promoted into a leadership role in another part of the business

THE SOLUTION

Given the urgency, not only did we proposed a six week timeline for delivery but we also brought profiles we felt could be of relevance to the face-to-face briefing meeting with the client. Our proximity with this market, in particular, meant that meaningful conversations about the talent market could be had at this very early stage. This helped the client start to understand the market for talent and it meant that personalised approaches could start to be shaped for some. 

A project plan and schedule was shaped comprising the following stages. Project catch-ups took place periodically with Collingwood advising which parties (hiring manager and HR VP) to include and when:

  • Briefing
  • Company target list – for research purposes
  • Identification via secondary (online) and primary (direct conversations) sources
  • Approaches – highly personalised given the ample research that had taken place
  • Collingwood screening – achievements and likelihood to deliver future success, suitability for role, strengths,              cultural fit and interpersonal manner, salary and practical matters
  • Shortlist presentation
  • Client interview process – in parallel with this in-depth conversation and counsel around salary expectations and matters pertaining to relocation
  • Offer process
  • In short, we conducted a global search of leaders from leading companies with ties to Europe, in particularly the countries where the key offices were located.

 Around 40 target contacts were identified after reviewing around 250 profiles, with 10 individuals being longlisted and three shortlisted and interviewed. The three shortlisted candidates were stack ranked against each other and strengths contextualised versus the available market and known internal benchmarks. The successful candidate had seven interviews in total with Collingwood advising on what to expect at each stage while constructively balancing support with personalised advice.

Collingwood then supported the candidate and HR through the offer process ensuring that there were no surprises. We then maintained contact with the appointee through his resignation process and into joining the business. Today, we expect to become a strategic partner to him as he builds his business with medium and long tern challenges in mind.

WHY DID WE ACHIEVE A SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME

To recap, we enabled the client to truly partner with us. We made it easy for them by giving them visibility of the market at a very early stage which led to bespoke approaches which attracted the strongest contacts to the proposition in a way that resonated with their very personal ambitions. We set out a clear schedule of activity so they knew what to expect and when. In this way the client, in turn, could make support literature available in a timely fashion and set out their plans for interviews.

At a later stage, we mediated and monitored conversations and relocation and salary. At each point in the process the client and candidates had knowledgeable support on hand from the consultant, if required, who was fully briefed on current, expected next steps and on any contingencies that might need to be actioned. However, thanks to strong planning and partnering from the start, this was a relatively smooth process which resulted in a fast-turnaround mandate.