Success Story – Managing Director

Collingwood Executive Search's Mark Goldsmith headhunted the perfect Managing Director candidate for an international building products manufacturer.

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This leading manufacturer within mainland Europe had relied on a sole distribution agreement with a distributor to service the UK market.

Last year the decision was made to move away from this model, thus allowing the head office to drive additional business into the commercial market in the UK. Having grown over the past 12 months, the UK business required a commercially orientated Managing Director to spearhead further growth and direction.

The challenge presenting itself to the foreign-based head office was their lack of understanding of what good looked like, together with the likely market rates required to attract strong building material Managing Directors within the UK.

Having recruited three Managing Directors in the UK for the parent company’s various acquisitions, Collingwood’s Head of Building Products, Mark Goldsmith, was referred into the individual manufacturers CEO.  

This individual manufacturer operates from 20 sales offices throughout Europe, supplying 40 countries, via five factories primarily stationed in mainland Europe. They have almost doubled in turnover over the past four years, recording revenue north of €500m last year.



Leading UK sales and operations, the new Managing Director was to be responsible for inspiring, motivating and developing the UK team to deliver targets, ensuring strong profitable growth.

Initially employed to translate head office strategy for UK use, this person would enjoy increased autonomy as the UK realises its potential.  The ambitious, but realistic, target was for the UK to triple in size over the coming five years.

This persons first challenge would be getting a strong understanding of how the ~15 UK staff had been operating over the past year; review the teams capability, and lay down strong commercial strategies on how the UK business was going to drive profitable growth, especially from within the commercial sector.



Simply put, the challenge presenting itself to both the Global VP of Sales, the CEO, and Mark Goldsmith was their lack of appreciation of what market conditions were like in the UK.

In fact, the CEO was strong with Mark whilst taking the brief, stating that he’d done research into salary ranges in the UK.  The figure quoted was comfortably 20% under market rate.

Understandably, it was important to the client’s stakeholder that the best individual was sourced for this newly created role.  A big obstacle to achieving this was the manufacturers lack of presence as its own entity in the UK.  Effectively, this was a start-up operation.

This required Mark Goldsmith to gain a thorough understanding of the business’ history, present state and future ambitions.  Building a story to sell to the market, thus allowing Mark to act as their brand ambassador, was going to be paramount.



After the briefing meeting, Mark produced a Strategy Document, outlining key points from the discussion. It also highlighted timelines and Mark’s perception of allied products and industries to target throughout the search.

Once agreed, the team at Collingwood compiled research on the local landscape. This led to 106 potential candidates to approach.

Along with the sharing of Collingwood’s online portal, throughout the four weeks of research and approach work, Mark shared initial CV’s with the two stakeholders. Pleasingly, both were keen to be involved. Ultimately, this led to a reasonably seamless process of attracting and assessing suitable individuals. Objective data shared also demonstrated that their salary expectations were light.



In summary, the following process took place:

Potential candidates identified following initial research undertaken


Targeted candidates CV’s received


Candidates interviewed by Mark Goldsmith


Candidates interviewed by client (and final interviewed)

5 (3) 

Candidate offered



The preferred candidate came from an extremely allied product background, with a strong understanding of their route to market. Added to this, he was comfortable working with similar size businesses, driving growth for a foreign based head office.

Throughout the interviewing and offer stages, Mark Goldsmith consulted with both client stakeholders in terms of how to present themselves, the preferred method to interviewing, and on how to deliver the offer.

Added to this, these stakeholders were not accustomed to onboarding an offeree after they’d handed notice in.  Again, Mark walked both stakeholders through their best approach to ensuring the preferred candidate was introduced to the board, UK team, and was able to prepare rough strategies based on confidential UK data.


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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