Product Line Manager, Fibre Solutions

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The assignment brief was taken from the Director of Product Management and the Human Resources Director for EMEA.  This was to be a new hire for a specific product line – the Director of Product Management was overseeing the development and introduction of this line. The client did not at this point have a specialist in place to help with the strategic market delivery. They engaged with Collingwood to find the talent required.



The client had recently acquired and successfully integrated a fibre optics solutions company. This acquisition would be central to their strategy to pursue a new line of solutions and clients in the FTTX market, previously they had worked largely in the development of copper solutions, and while they would not leave this behind, they also recognised the need to diversify.

The Director of Product Management had come across to our client in the acquisition and was now given the opportunity to build out their own team. Having someone in place to lead the strategy on bringing this product to market was crucial, particularly someone who understood the EMEA market.

The successful candidate would take full ownership of the marketing and release of this new product line. They would work closely with R&D, engineering, sales and marketing and they would need to have a “solution” mindset.



We were initially asked to focus on one geographical region, which was to be Germany. Our market intelligence told us from previous completed assignments that the candidate pool in this region was particularly shallow, our advice was taken on board, and we were then able to open up the search to different regions improving the chances of finding relevant talent.

Having this information to hand certainly reduced the time to hire. We were able to now focus on Italy, Spain and the Netherlands alongside Germany, and although this was still a small and specialised pool it was still clearly bigger than a single region.

We decided in collaboration with the client that the search should initially be contained to competitor businesses. Companies of a similar size, product portfolio and location coverage would be more likely to yield the most suitable match. We would increase the chances of finding someone who really understood the challenge and had the knowledge and experience to execute a product delivery across multiple regions.

They also had the potential to bring a network with them which would be relevant to our client. This network could be used to the client's advantage.

To efficiently manage the assignment, we had biweekly updates with the client during which we were able to provide insights into the market based on the data we were finding.



From initial brief to the candidate accepting the offer (with a Christmas break included) we successfully delivered this assignment within 12 weeks. We identified the candidate from a competitor business and from one of the additional countries, Italy.

The candidate was part of a pool of 75 and the client met with 2 candidates. As mentioned, we knew from the outset that the candidate pool would be shallow and that our research would therefore need to be precise. By providing our client with 2 accurate options we once again ensured that this was an efficient process. Considering that there would be 3 stakeholders across 2 different time zones, plus both candidates being in a third time zone this was crucial.

Speed to hire was also important to our client, this hire would be crucial for their 2023 and 2024 strategy. Having this person in place in the first quarter of 2023 was the ideal outcome for our client.

The successful candidate was aware of our client and had been involved in competitive bids with them in the past. They were delighted to be able to join our client.


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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