Consumer Goods


by Alina Negrea, Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Our client is a prominent player in the consumer goods industry with core business in the non food area (mainly household products). The company is currently exporting in 50 countries around the globe and is present with operations in more than eight countries throughout Europe.

Romanian operations were established a few years ago, as an important step in a larger strategic plan aiming to sustain the geographic expansion and encouraged by a context of extraordinary growth of the European market. At that point, our client decided to develop the Romanian subsidiary more as a satellite linked to a larger regional hub. We recruited the first local country manager who, as requested, was more of a hands-on doer than a strategic player. His performance was excellent, especially in terms of reaching the initial strategic objectives, and our client appreciated this by promoting the incumbent to a more regional role.

In the meantime however, both the local and the European economical landscape changed dramatically. Our client was forced to rapidly adapt to the new situation therefore the need of a new, more visionary leader became necessary to develop our market. At this point we were chosen to identify, evaluate and attract the new Country Manager for Romania.

This was a very complex profile as it meant someone with an extensive knowledge of the FMCG (non food) market but also with vast functional expertise as our client had many of their operations outsourced in Romania. The new Country Manager would also have an ambitious business objective, that of doubling the actual turnover in the forthcoming year, under the auspices of a highly competitive market and a challenged industry. Development would have been achieved through increasing sales and distribution in the modern trade channel, increasing the products portfolio and market presence.

We were forced to target a large number of companies: over 50 relevant players starting with the largest down to the medium sized organizations.  It was very important for us that the originating organization would fit the new context: procedure based environment, similar main or secondary business focus, relevant presence on the targeted market, democratic type of leadership. Our search strategy alternated in terms of company dimension, internal organization and profiles’ complexity; thus in large multinational companies we aimed at the sales manager for modern trade channels, whereas in medium companies we went for the higher hierarchical profiles, such as National Sales Manager.

We performed several evaluations with the few candidates selected after the initial screening. Cross interviews led by our consultants, competency based interviews and behavioral assessment were used in various phases of the discussions. We concluded this complex evaluation process with thorough assessment of their personal drive as well as their ethics.

Ulterior to evaluation completion we proceeded to reference checking. We obtained explicit approval from the selected candidates, to ask for references relevant persons in their professional network; by relevant we mean specifically board members and managing directors who would have been their direct superiors. Depending on situation, we felt getting some feedback from peers inside the organization would complete the professional profile, therefore some of our reference check included this segment also. Our reference check was performed under the format of mini-interviews, carefully prepared and scheduled with the referees. We were looking for specific evidence of past performance in terms of numbers, processes and people management. We were also looking at how our selected candidates integrated themselves in various organizational environments, at the relationship dynamics they would foster with board members, peers and occasionally subordinates.

In six weeks we presented our client with a shortlist of selected candidates that would fit both in terms of past experience and performance as well as in terms of behavior, drive and ethics. Within 8 weeks from the beginning of the assignment one of the candidates we presented signed the offer and would start his induction in the Head Quarters of our client. 

 

Alina Negrea is a Senior Consultant with over 10 years experience in multinational environment [see details here]

 

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