Operations Director – Building Products – Housebuilder, Social Housing & RM&I markets

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Having recruited most of one of this client’s suppliers board throughout the past six years, Collingwood were referred by them to partner with this genuine market leading Building Product manufacturer. Established for close to 100 years, the business was bought out 30 years ago. They are now the largest building material manufacture and installer within their product sector in Scotland.

Collingwood’s client experienced more than 50% growth FY21-22, with a further £90m already secured between 2024 and 2027.

With this continued growth, the business recently had a lease approved on a new 33,000 square foot factory. Once established, it is forecasted that this investment will grow annual production from c.50,000 to 100,000 units within the next four years. 



This role became available due to unforeseen circumstances associated with a long serving, respected previous director.

This was to be a Group Board of Directors appointment, reporting into the Joint Managing Directors. Central to the purpose of this position was the development and implementation of the ongoing operational strategy to ensure the business meets its growth plans.

Of the 280 strong workforce, average tenure stood at nine years. It is a well-respected, harmonious employer. The position holder would inherit a team of around 135, including six direct reports. This number will increase once the third site goes live.

Fundamentally, our client sought an individual with a strong background within operations and manufacturing. The individual would take ownership of current and future Capex projects, demonstrating a roadmap over the duration of the business strategic plan, ensuring quality and operational efficiency through the development and implementation of standards and controls, systems and procedures and regular evaluation. Experience in continuous improvement programmes was especially important.

Furthermore, they would need to understand the importance of Talent Development, including building a high performing team (direct and indirect) and driving a challenging environment throughout the production team, whilst ensuring a close team environment is upheld. 



Understandably, upon meeting with the Joint Managing Directors at their sites in Scotland, initially they briefed Collingwood on gaining interest from individuals within their specific product sector.

Upon listening to the requirements and challenges associated with this role, Collingwood’s Head of Building Products, Mark Goldsmith, highlighted that this would limit the search.  Having completed a healthy number of successful appointments within their subsector, taking into account their location in Scotland, Mark highlighted that doing so would dramatically limit the results.

Upon agreeing the key criteria, all parties agreed to opening the search up to allied product sectors and industries.

Aside from this, the only other area that Mark was to be especially sensitive to was the individuals softer skills.  With a long serving predecessor, leadership skills and broader fit to the company’s culture was to be closely assessed.



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 65 potential candidates to approach.

Along with the sharing of Collingwood’s online portal, throughout the five weeks of research and approach work, Mark shared initially 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. 



In summary, the following process took place:

Potential candidates identified following initial research undertaken


Number of candidates engaged with 


Targeted candidates CV’s received


Candidates interviewed by Mark Goldsmith


Candidates interviewed by client (and final interviewed)

6 (3)

Candidate offered          



The preferred candidate came from an interior building materials background, with strong experience of relocating plants and ownership of major CapEx projects within an expanding setting.  Furthermore, he was a thoroughly nice person and aligned to the clients longstanding culture.


The client wrote the following testimonial about his experience of working with Mark and Collingwood:

"I would have no hesitation in recommending Collingwood Search to any company looking to recruit senior personnel for their organisation.

Right from our first conversation, through the engagement process, finalising job specifications, reviewing potential candidates and so forth, Mark and Callum provided excellent input, with some great suggestions and were diligent and professional throughout.

The candidates taken forward to interview were all top quality individuals, who met the brief well and we had some difficult decisions to make when deciding on who to appoint to what role.

The bottom line is we wouldn’t have found the key people we needed for our businesses without Collingwood Search and their expertise."

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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