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COO Succession Planning for a pan-European Engineering

 

An unexpected retirement announcement initiated a search for a new COO for our engineering client.

The brief

Having previously undertaken several successful headhunts for this client, they were keen to engage with us as soon as their incumbent COO unexpectedly announced his retirement due to a change in family circumstances. 

As a multi-million pound pan-European engineering organisation, they were looking for someone to lead the business on a global scale. In particular, they had targeted significant business development opportunities across the USA, Middle East, and Asia Pacific regions which the business was not currently set up for logistically.


Succession Planning 

The existing COO intended to retire within the following 9 months and our client were keen to ensure there was a six-month handover period with the new COO working alongside the incumbent. The existing COO had been in position for nearly 25 years, overseeing the organisation’s expansion into Europe from their UK origins, so a substantial handover period was understandable to ensure a smooth succession.

However, this provided us with a substantial challenge, as most positions at that level had a minimum of a three month notice period. In addition, it was imperative to identify candidates who had the necessary wealth of experience in international expansion that our client required.


Meticulous Researching 

Our in-depth research methodology was critical to successfully finding the perfect candidate for this role. With such a strong background of headhunting across the engineering sector, we were able to use our broad network of contacts to help identify the top performing candidates from the industry. 

In addition, as a cross-sector specialist, we identified several other suitable COO candidates from other industries to benchmark against those with a strong engineering background. This provided our client with the highest level of confidence that the candidates ultimately presented were the top performers.

Furthermore, throughout the research process, notice periods and how negotiable these were for the suitable candidates playing an integral part of the early conversations, ensuring this would not be a stumbling block at the final offer stage. 


Successful Succession

Our client appointed one of the leading COOs in the marketplace from one of their main competitors where they had previously made the leap to international expansion under the successful candidate. The candidate was keen for a fresh challenge and saw our client’s organisation as a fantastic opportunity to make a difference. 

The appointed candidate was able to negotiate a six week notice period, enabling the six month transition our client felt would be critical to an effective succession.   

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