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.

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