Placement Archive

Confidential regional VP and Country VP replacement for network security firm

The Client

The client, a public US-based network security technology firm, assigned us with a sensitive replacement search, splitting a single VP role into 2 separate VP roles.

For each role they required tier 1 caliber candidates, each with strength in all of the following areas: selling into both enterprises and Service Providers, upper layer network and security product understanding, ability to manage organizations of 80 or more, and a stellar track record of leadership and scaling an operation.

The Challenge

The incumbent held 2 titles, one as VP for the Asia Pacific region, and the other as Country Manager/VP for the client’s key market within that region.

The client needed to find two candidates and fill both roles simultaneously to ensure neither operation lost momentum. It was critical that the incumbent not learn of the searches as these regions were of major importance to the company’s bottom line but 2 searches doubled the likelihood that he could hear about it.

In addition, the region was cut up in an unusual way resulting in the Asia role having less coverage than most tier 1 candidates expected. In addition, midway through the search the client’s stock price dropped by 50%.

Finally, though the client insisted on only tier 1 candidates, their budget limitations put many of them out of reach.

Our Solution

We knew that we would need to double the long list to ensure our pool was big enough to produce the caliber of candidates expected by the client.

We designated a research team of 4 people to canvas the market targeting about 50 companies with related technology. We identified prospective candidates who either currently worked with these companies or worked for them in the past.

To maximize confidentiality for both searches all candidates interested to learn more signed NDAs. From early in the search we leveraged our network to backdoor reference candidates and minimize chances highest potential candidates would have hidden issues that would arise later in the process.

The Asia Pacific role presented the biggest challenge due to its more limited scope and the budget limitations for it. For the Asia role we successfully pulled in the former head of two of the client’s main competitors.

For the Country VP role, the chosen candidate had just spent the previous 4 years successfully turning around another of the client’s key competitors. The client was extremely pleased with the process as well as the candidates they on-boarded.

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