Placement Archive

European household goods needed Finance Director replacement

The Client

A privately-held household goods retail business was looking to confidentially replace their incumbent Regional Finance Director. They required a playing manager with retail sector experience to build relations with commercial operations, and increase the capability of the finance operation to support business decision-making.

The Challenge

The client was frustrated. The role had been out in the market for the previous 8 months. There had been numerous agencies working on the search. Although there were 2 candidates brought to offer during this time, both offers were rejected. The client wanted to know why, and they wanted to know how to fill this critical role without wasting another 8 months.

They expected the successful candidate to be from a tier 1 consumer goods company. Although the client company is well-respected and a premium brand, it could only be considered tier 2 due to its relatively smaller size.

They were also asking for someone who would be willing to get their hands dirty acting as a change agent in devising and executing business transformation initiatives. The family nature of the business also called for a candidate with a lighter touch. Most candidates working within genuine tier 1s are highly aggressive.

Finally, the budget for the role was about 2/3 of what would be typically required for someone from a tier 1 consumer goods firm.

Our Solution

The client was unfamiliar with retained search and reluctant to engage initially. But they could not afford another botched search and understood that a successful result would cost the same whether retained or contingency. With this approach we could afford to dedicate significant resources to the project from the beginning.

To expand the pool we included finance leaders with past experience in retail but not necessarily currently in the field. Over the first 6 weeks we built and delivered an extensive report of candidates in the market along with their costs and capabilities.

Based on this objective evidence, we recalibrated the target profile to better match the scale of their business and the practical realities of the market. Pressed for time, the client asked to interview candidates on an as-we-go basis rather than wait for a formal shortlist.

In the end, we presented 6 candidates, they met 3, and closed on one. The client was enthusiastic about the result, the candidate considers it his dream job, and the project was completed within 3 months.

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