Fast Expanding Consumer Goods MNC Needed Regional HR Director Replacement

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The Client 

The Client is a UK-based health and home products manufacturer. They required someone to take over their HR function in the region, someone coming from a retail or FMCG background, experienced overseas, and with a more dynamic approach to HR than the incumbent. He would also need to be capable of driving the firm’s expansion by 200 within his/her first year.

The Challenge 

The Client needed to replace their current HR head who was a negative personality type and potentially disruptive; they had justification to be concerned about what would happen if he learned of the replacement search. He had been with the firm for the eight years since their inception in the region, and over time had not matured within the organization; he was unwilling to get on board with new management initiatives, nor accommodate others brought on to help in these areas. A key challenge would be to maintain confidentiality through the course of the search, in what was a relatively small market. The other challenge would be in getting top tier candidates from retail to consider the role: the Client’s primary focus was wholesale it was a relatively smaller company than what would be considered top tier. The Client also would not allow the company name to be revealed until they approved that the candidate was qualified; conversely, candidates were reluctant to agree to enter the process without knowing the Client name. Finally, the Regional VP was about to return to the company’s UK HQ during the course of the search and would be replaced by someone new, and this fact needed to be revealed to candidates during the process.

Our Solution 

Prior to signing the agreement we had clearly laid out for the Client the various challenges intrinsic to the search to ensure their expectations were realistic from the onset. We also gave guidance on the legalities and practicalities related to letting people go within the regional HQ. We designated a team of three researchers to begin work on mapping the market with an emphasis on companies considered cultural fits, retail-focused, and having experienced significant hiring growth in the past few years. Due to the confidentiality requirements and the challenge of eliciting interest from candidates without being able to properly introduce the company name, we first focused on our own substantial network of candidates in the market. This approach resulted in two highly qualified candidates who had recently helped spearhead major expansion and who were each approaching the end of their business transformation. The successful candidate was considered the more dynamic and a perfect match by the Client. He was still in place, happily, four years after joining.