Operations Director – Packaging

Operations Director – Packaging

Our client, an international packaging manufacturer, had a requirement for an Operations Director to manage its 24/7 plant in Ellesmere Port, producing paper-based packaging, predominantly for a major blue-chip FMCG customer. They had traditionally recruited people from within the sector, but wanted to look at potentially recruiting somebody with the core competencies required, including strong people management skills, running a high volume continuous manufacturing operation, and working to Continuous Improvement principles, but with a background in a different sector.

Wickland Westcott carried out a full executive search campaign which involved identifying locally based Plant and Operations Managers/Directors working for organisations carrying out similar high-volume manufacturing. We contacted over 90 potential candidates and put together a long-list of 8 who were interviewed face-to-face. From these, CVs for 4 short-list candidates were submitted to our client, along with full interview notes and the results of a personality profiling test designed to assess leadership style. After the client’s two stage interview process, which included a site tour and presentation, the first-choice candidate was offered and accepted the role.

The successful candidate had a background in printing, chemical products and, most recently, textiles. Throughout their career, they had focussed on implementing Lean practices and a “right first time” culture, along with delivering high levels of customer satisfaction in high pressure 24/7 manufacturing environments. In addition, they had strong people management and leadership skills, with a track record of bringing about meaningful change to drive performance improvements.

On the back of this assignment, Wickland Westcott were appointed to identify an Engineering Manager for their site in Wigan, a business critical role that our client had been unable to fill for over 6 months.

For more information on our services please contact Wickland Westcott on 01625 508 100 or email ww@wickland-westcott.com.

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.

Managing Director

Managing Director (Germany-based)

Part of an entrepreneurial and highly acquisitive US Holding Group, this international manufacturing business supplies technical solutions to B2B customers across a range of niche sectors. The company’s success is based on its ability to engage on a deep level with customers with specific requirements, collaborating in the co-creation of applications to meet exacting needs. The business, which has its head office in North America, was seeking a successful General Manager/Managing Director to lead the growth of its interests in Europe from an established location in the South of Germany.

The brief was to search the local market in Germany for successful leaders with experience gained growing manufacturing businesses supplying similar technical products. The emphasis of the role was on implementing a clear commercial strategy, identifying new growth markets, whilst developing the delivery capability of the existing team. Therefore, ideal candidates would bring strong commercial credentials complemented by the ability to develop people and processes and to oversee the adoption of more efficient ways of working.

The search focused on similar sized manufacturing companies supplying technically differentiated B2B products where success required a strategic approach to business development. The process delivered a shortlist of five candidates, each of whom had the opportunity to meet the company CEO, local leadership team and a senior member of the Holding Group. A final candidate was taken through a battery of psychometrics and a full executive assessment prior to his successful appointment. He had worked locally and internationally at MD level with manufacturers of speciality chemicals, rubber compounds and customised stainless-steel containers.

Post the conclusion of the assignment, the client offered the following comment:

“Wickland Westcott was instrumental in helping us manage a long and complex recruiting process for a multi-national, key leadership position. They were able to provide us diverse, highly-qualified candidates with great depth and breadth that are game changers in their respective fields. Without our Leadership Consultant Jerome Bull, it would have been a very difficult process!”

 

For more information on our services please contact Wickland Westcott on 01625 508 100 or email ww@wickland-westcott.com.


Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.

Chief Operating Officer

Chief Operating Officer

Established over 100 years ago, this world-leading institution is widely recognised for the scientific, technical and advisory services it provides to the global food and drink sector. A member-based organisation, it counts many household names amongst its customers, and collaborates closely with high profile brand owners across the manufacturing and grocery retail sectors. The company was seeking a new COO to help drive change and modernisation in pursuit of growth as part of the senior leadership team.

The role of COO, which sits on the Executive Committee, has responsibility for a team of approximately 300 highly qualified technicians operating across different service lines and technical specialisms. The emphasis of the role was on promoting a greater level of collaboration and integration between sub-teams, leading to the promotion and delivery of a more cohesive customer proposition. Therefore, the role required significant but sensitive leadership and change management skills, ensuring respect for the history and tradition of the business whilst embracing the future.

The assignment involved the identification of senior technical/R&D General Managers with significant leadership experience gained with a recognised food manufacturer and/or retailer. In addition to exemplary qualifications and technical credentials, the search focused on candidates with experience gained delivering meaningful change across a workforce of scale. Leadership style was also particularly important given the history and prevailing culture of the business.

The shortlist, which included relevant and highly qualified candidates from B2B and B2C food manufacturing environments, met with the CEO and leadership team, completing personality psychometrics and a presentation as part of the process. Ultimately, the assignment resulted in the appointment of an individual with outstanding pedigree, blue-chip experience and a strong profile in the sector. He also brought the potential and headroom to step up to CEO in the fulness of time, satisfying an important succession planning consideration.

For more information on our services please contact Wickland Westcott on 01625 508 100 or email ww@wickland-westcott.com.

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.

Operations Director (Field-based Workforce)

Operations Director (Field-based Workforce)

Our client is a major transportation services and judicial enforcement business that works on behalf of local authorities, central government and the private sector, including collecting fines. They have grown significantly over the last few years, both organically and via acquisition, and they have c.4000 field agents, based throughout the UK. Their rapid growth resulted in the creation of a new position of Group Operations Director, reporting into the COO and with responsibility for developing and implementing the operations strategy to ensure the effective management of the field team, focussed on ensuring that end customers received the highest possible level of service in what is a politically sensitive market whilst bearing in mind cost and budget issues.

Finding candidates with experience of managing similar sized, nationally based teams was not an easy task, particularly given the perception of the industry that our client operates in. After an initial market mapping exercise, we contacted some 80 potential candidates, assessing their experience in managing, communicating with and motivating a large field-based team, along with their track record of working under pressure and to tight deadlines, managing major change programs and using technology to maximise efficiency and reduce costs. A strong ethical focus and values-driven approach was also needed given the scrutiny that organisations in this market are subjected to from both the public and the media.

We interviewed and psychometrically assessed twelve potential candidates and put together a short-list of four, all of whom were interviewed by the HR Director and COO. Two of these were then met by the CEO of the organisation, who was happy that either could carry out the role effectively and add real value to the organisation. As such, the COO offered his preferred candidate, who accepted the offer and who has already made a positive impact on the operation.

For more information on our services please contact Wickland Westcott on 01625 508 100 or email ww@wickland-westcott.com.

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.

Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive Officer

Part of a leading international manufacturing group, this UK subsidiary distributes a wide range of speciality B2B solutions to customers across various vertical markets. The company, which has an established local presence, was seeking a CEO to lead the UK business following the planned retirement of the former incumbent.

The emphasis of the role, which reports into Switzerland, was on leading the team in the development and implementation of a clear commercial strategy, building demand via a wide and varied customer portfolio whilst managing relationships across manufacturing operations in Europe and the US to ensure the timely availability of goods. Therefore, the brief was to find candidates with relevant sector knowledge and the ability to lead the business to deliver profitable growth through new and existing customers/markets/products.

The search focused on the identification of GMs/MDs in similar businesses along with strong commercial leaders in bigger environments with the ambition and credibility to make a step up. This led to a varied shortlist including candidates with a proven track record at this level and others with strong commercial credentials and clear ongoing potential. Ultimately, the business appointed a highly successful senior commercial manager from a major competitor with the headroom and drive to move into a bigger, broader role offering increased levels of autonomy.

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.


Chief Technical Officer

Chief Technical Officer

This company is a world-renowned British luxury yacht manufacturer with a reputation for innovative design, exhilarating engineering, jaw-dropping performance and breath-taking attention to detail. Following the retirement of the former incumbent after 53 years’ service, the business was seeking its first externally-appointed Chief Technical Officer with the vision to deliver the next generation of market-leading products. A key appointment to the Executive leadership team, the successful candidate would also play a significant role in shaping the ongoing growth and success of this iconic business.

Wickland Westcott was retained to undertake a global search into the luxury yacht sector, engaging industry design authorities with the credentials to successfully lead an established team, balancing design innovation and ethos with a greater emphasis on process and governance. The bias of the search was towards high profile European manufacturers exposed to comparable challenges in terms of design styling, structural engineering and efficient and repeatable production. However, it also included other well-known brand owners, design houses and suppliers of bespoke-built mega yachts.

The longlist consisted of candidates with executive-level experience gained across several market-leading motor yacht companies in Germany, Italy, France and Holland, yielding a shortlist of three. The appointed candidate brings a wealth of experience and unrivalled pedigree gained with an Italian boatbuilder where they shaped the design function following several acquisitions whilst launching a series of highly successful new ranges across multiple brands. Their design credentials are second to none and, in addition to their strong industry profile and first-class leadership skills, they hold patents for various design innovations and technology breakthroughs

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.


Procurement Recruitment Project

Procurement Recruitment Project

This company, part of a global aerospace group, designs, develops and manufactures a range of premium engineered solutions on behalf of high profile, long haul airlines via aircraft OEMs. The business is going through significant change with increased emphasis on operational excellence and lean supply chain improvements, requiring an uplift in the overall capability of the operations team.

Wickland Westcott was retained to fill roles at various levels in the purchasing function across operational, strategic and NPI/project buying. This was a high-volume project requiring candidates with contrasting backgrounds gained in programme-led manufacturing businesses with a strong NPI bias. The assignment, which was delivered via a dedicated Wickland Westcott project team, focused on the identification, selection and assessment of high calibre procurement professionals with a strong track record of commercial achievement and the ability to deliver change and transformation in a well-established and highly operational environment.

The project involved sourcing candidates via multiple channels including targeted search, advertising and candidate database mining, leading to longlists for each job type/level. Candidates were assessed via a structured competency-based interview supplemented by personality profiling, undertaken using Credo. The Wickland Westcott team maintained regular contact with the client hiring team through a series of pre-arranged calls and meetings, ensuring a high level of alignment throughout. Overall, the assignment resulted in several key appointments, helping promote the calibre, profile and credibility of the company’s purchasing team with customers, suppliers and other internal stakeholders.

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.


Regional Lean Champion – Europe

Regional Lean Champion – Europe

This US-listed holding Group owns a portfolio of companies manufacturing diversified industrial products via operations worldwide. The business has an overarching approach to the growth and development of group companies, underpinned by well-established operational excellence programmes delivered via a cadre of Lean Champions. The brief here was to find a lean expert based in Germany to nurture a culture of continuous improvement across subsidiaries in Europe based on the company’s recognised philosophy.

The search focused on the identification of lean specialists and experienced manufacturing professionals across a range of different sectors in Germany. The ability to build relationships and establish credibility with a diverse range of stakeholders was essential along with an extensive track record gained by coaching others and/or facilitating Kaizen events in an international environment. The desire to contribute to the overall Group lean strategy was also pre-requisite, requiring regular interaction with colleagues in the US.

We successfully delivered a shortlist of four candidates including a practitioner trained with Porsche Consulting, Lean Specialists with experience gained in tier 1 automotive and building product environments and an experienced Plant Manager with a strong lean bias. Ultimately, the appointed candidate brought a strong blend of operational leadership and specialist lean experience gained with a progressive multinational manufacturing group. In addition to a strong technical pedigree, he offered a well-rounded skillset including the ability to see issues and opportunities from multiple perspectives.

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.


Group HR Director

Group HR Director

A market leader in its field, this independently-owned merchanting business supplies a wide range of products to the trade and general public via a growing portfolio of depots. The company, which has a strong set of values in terms of its people and customers, was seeking an experienced HR Director to join the Executive Leadership Team.

The brief here was to source experienced HR leaders to shape and deliver a modern, progressive HR strategy aligned to ambitious growth plans. The emphasis of the role was on building the company’s reputation as an ‘employer of choice’ whilst implementing HR programmes in an operational multi-site environment with an emphasis on continuous improvement, high performance and employee engagement.

The search focused on the identification of professionally-qualified senior HR leaders with a strong generalist background gained in similar service-led environment. The appointed candidate came with a wealth of senior retail sector HR experience and demonstrated the necessary ability to contribute at a strategic level with the executive team whilst engaging across the wider business, implementing change and making things happen from an operational perspective.

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.


Site Operations Director

Site Operations Director

This company manufacturers a wide range of innovative, brand-enhancing packaging solutions on behalf of a significant stable of luxury brand owners globally. The business, which is part of a large US conglomerate, has a growing portfolio of manufacturing sites and distribution hubs in key territories worldwide. Our brief was to source and select a high calibre senior operations leader to shape the future of an established plant in Scotland in line with future business plans.

The search focused on the identification of candidates with a strong manufacturing pedigree gained in a similar technically-differentiated product environment. Whilst the ability to lead and manage change along with a track record of performance improvement was essential, we were also particularly keen to unearth candidates with a strong commercial outlook. Therefore, experience gained supporting growth, working with commercial teams and directly with customers to leverage new income streams and revenue-generating opportunities was also highly desirable.

The search yielded a strong but varied shortlist including relevant candidates working in specialty packaging, branded FMCG and medical device manufacturing, all of whom met the fundamental requirements. The successful candidate brought a great balance of big and small company experience in contrasting markets, offering breadth and a fully rounded perspective. In additional to excellent technical and commercial credentials, the successful candidate possesses a modern leadership profile and the potential to contribute to the development of the site whilst adding value to the wider business.

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.