Innovation Director EMEA, IT/OT Convergence and Industrial Automation

The client, a $3bn plus turnover organisation was on the verge of launching its global innovation initiative and was now ready for someone to take ownership of this.

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The Client

The client, a $3bn plus turnover organisation was on the verge of launching its global innovation initiative and was now ready for someone to take ownership of this.

The assignment brief was taken from the Global Innovation Director, who had previously overseen the EMEA region.

Now at a critical stage of growth he needed someone to lead this region as his direct report, while he focused on the Global Innovation Strategy. This was a new position within this organisation. 


The Role

The position of Innovation Director would be a key hire for the Global Solutions strategy, the client is moving from a product to solution and services focused model. The Innovation Director will be responsible for homogenising the Sales, Marketing and Business Units of multiple acquisitions, putting in place some standard operating procedures and evangelising the new solution approach to the EMEA market.

Not only this, but the successful candidate would need to strategize ways of scaling these solutions. With the end goal to have a “blueprint” for best practice which could be used across multiple market verticals.

To do this successfully their external focus would need to be PR, Sales and Marketing driven, while internally this person will have to build a followership as they effectively rebrand and re-message the client offering. At the same time, ensuring that disparate business units - which have long established routes to market in product offerings - also redefine how they operate and deliver.


About the author
Doug Mackay
min read

Having started his career in Executive Search in 1998, Doug set up Collingwood in 2005 alongside his wife, Claire Mackay.

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The Solution

This needed to be a truly collaborative approach, a new and previously undefined position within the business meant that this would be a learning process for our client, it also placed a heavy emphasis on regular communication throughout the process, even after shortlist submission. As always the first step was to conduct a briefing meeting with the client and to learn first hand the vision that they had for this role.

As it was to be a new function, we agreed to reconvene within 10 days of the first brief with some benchmark candidates. This served two purposes, it allowed the client to see first-hand what the right type of profile could look like, but also allowed us at Collingwood to ensure that we had understood the challenge they faced.

This was a true headhunting exercise, although the market area was potentially wide with regards to competitors, the number of people within these organisations leading innovation would be few. Once we had agreed the research parameters with our client we next undertook a targeted approach of competitors, and in particular people who had evidence of working in an Innovation, Transformation or Sales & Marketing leadership position. 


The Result

From the list of target organisations we submitted a shortlist of 3 candidates within 4 weeks. The successful candidate had worked in a parallel vertical to our client and had also had experience of working with one of their acquisition companies, prior to its acquisition.

They had an international profile, had lived and worked in Europe, the US and SE Asia. They had worked in both multibillion turnover organisations and start up tech organisations, on each occasion in Sales, Marketing and Innovation leadership positions.

This person had experience in not only bringing together M&A organisations, but had also actively identified and carried out the due diligence on M&A targets with the goal of extending the client offering in a solution & services model.

We supported out client and the candidate throughout the negotiation process, conducted across multiple time zones (Europe, EST and Asia) due to the different locations of stakeholders in the interview process. We ensured that all parties knew exactly where they stood during this, resulting in one offer and a direct acceptance. 


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