Managing Director - Fleet Services


Our client is a global market leader in the manufacture of rigid inflatable boats and high-speed assault craft for the global defence, search & rescue, and law-enforcement sectors. With a decade of manufacturing excellence behind them and the biggest spike in their growth curve being over the last 2 years, 2014 represented a huge opportunity to drive significant growth and to take their business to the next level. Plans included overseas expansion, acquisition and the launch of a lucrative new service business.


To lead the growth of the fleet services business, a highly strategic and proven commercial MD was required to spearhead what was to be the most exciting chapter in the story so far.


Having used a number of ‘marine specialist’ recruitment agencies over the years for lower-level roles, our client recognised their limitations in recruiting for senior roles. In addition, they recognised that due to the need for innovative commercial thinking from this person, they would need to be more open-minded about what sector this person could have worked. To this end, they decided on a headhunting approach with a specialist in senior appointments and an understanding of the marine sector. Collingwood was delighted to be appointed as the chosen partner.


Our search began with a number of days at the client’s manufacturing headquarters, spending time with the shareholders, understanding the manufacturing capability and absorbing the unique culture of the business. The information gathered from this exercise formed the basis of the brief with which we were to work. The candidate would need to be highly strategic and with a ‘big-thinking’ approach to growth and most importantly be able to demonstrate an ‘entrepreneurial spark’ that has achieved results within a growing business previously. An experience of the marine sector was advantageous but not essential.

Our search took two routes. One was a thorough scouring of the marine and defence industry, with the project team taking the time to attend two major trade shows to network and meet with relevant candidates. Key intelligence was gained and target lists were drawn up. In addition, our management team’s links to relevant trade associations in the marine sector meant those known potential candidates were also contacted. The other route was an open search into other ‘non-marine’ sectors that bore commercial parallels and could possibly harbor a suitable candidate.


After comparing all long-listed candidates in face-to-face assessments at centers across the UK, the shortlisted was selected based on fit with the brief and cultural fit with the business. Collingwood’s Project Manager was asked to sit in on final interviews with the shareholders and provide feedback and commentary as the candidate’s presented. After an impressive day of presentations covering their first year in the business, the wash-up culminated in a unanimous decision to offer a candidate who had been selected through the Collingwood Manager’s involvement with the Mersey Maritime Association, whom the candidate was also affiliated.

Hailed as the most impressive experience of using an external recruitment partner, the client now looks forward to long-term growth led by the new Managing Director of Fleet Services.