Placing 2 Senior VPs from direct competitor into payments MNC
A global leader in the payments industry required a Regional Head of Sales along with a Regional Head of Business Development to drive major expansion to keep up with an explosion in industry growth.
The nature of the industry made this an especially challenging assignment. There are only a handful of players, very strict rules governing non-competition, and a general reluctance for individuals to want to move to direct competitors.
In addition, due to the level of seniority of the positions, there were few who could claim the experience required to meet the client’s expectations for each role. In fact, the client had a specific competitor from which they strongly requested we source their candidates from, making our options extremely limited.
Finally, the client had a somewhat checkered reputation within the industry due to some past missteps in the region.
Due to the limited targets and the client’s encouragement that we focus our efforts on their top competitor, our work lay largely in creating a compelling narrative that would elicit interest from the key people to the extent that they would consider a role with a direct competitor.
Our strategy would be to create a highly comfortable process for the candidates, one that would not require them to visit the client office of a direct competitor. We would present an attractive but generic opportunity to draw interest and initiate a discussion. We would leverage the historical mistakes of the client and work them to the client’s advantage. We would only reveal the client name after all of this and only to the limited few who were qualified. The pitch would be that mistakes were made, the client recognizes this and wants to ensure that the successful candidate will have the autonomy necessary to shape the direction of the firm’s operation.
For each role we created a very solid shortlist, with 4 of the 6 candidates coming directly from the top target company, and another one of them having partnered with the target company in his current role.
We successfully registered strong interest in the roles and company with each of the candidates. We also needed to deal with very serious reservations related to non-compete legalities as well as concerns surrounding moving to a direct competitor after years of service to their current companies.
In the end, we worked carefully with the client to ensure we could give clear guidance to the offered candidates related to the legal questions they had. In addition, we created a transition strategy that enabled the candidates to make the move while maintaining the friendships and goodwill they had developed over the years at their prior firm.
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