Vopak UK

Financial Director Headhunters

The Business:

Royal Vopak - with its headquarters in Rotterdam, the Netherlands - is the world’s largest independent tank storage provider, specialising in the storage and handling of liquid chemicals, gasses and oil products.

Vopak UK was an arm of Royal Vopak and comprised four terminals – London, Teesside, Windmill and Thames Oil Port – that were strategically placed in prime locations in major UK ports to allow for a fast and efficient service.

The strength of the company is based upon a combination of experience, and service delivery by well-trained and knowledgeable people adhering to the highest safety and quality standards. The effective operation of Vopak terminals is business critical to their clients in the chemical, fuel, gas and biofuel markets.

The Challenge:

Extensive changes were afoot when we met the team at Vopak, as they’d recently accepted a takeover offer.

They needed a new Financial Director to manage the entire finance function of the company, which was about to be acquired by Macquarie Capital – a global corporate in their business sector.

Macquarie had a major presence in this business sector in the UK and had four operating sites located at Grays in Essex, Barry in South Wales and two sites on Teesside. The incoming FD would be involved in setting up the new operating structure of the business in conjunction with the new shareholders.

This was an exceptionally successful company with a very strong track record and a great reputation and would remain UK-focused, with the same customers, standards, safety functions, procedures, clients, and indeed (many of) the same staff.

Our Candidate:

The incoming FD was expected to be able to take a leading role in the whole business management structure as part of the senior team and would be required to match the culture and vision of the business, where health and safety, quality and sustainability are paramount.

This was a challenging role with huge amounts of autonomy, so the right person needed to be an experienced finance pro with a sterling track record.

Vopak laid out an almost blank canvas for their new FD to map a business unit on to; the role would be responsible for building internal treasury, tax and company secretarial functions that hadn’t existed when the business was a subsidiary of the larger organisation.

Our Solution:

We found Vopak a highly qualified financial leader, experienced in managing teams through various projects from M&A and integration assignments to the day-to-day financial running of a business.

They came with extensive experience working within engineering and energy industries and was an expert when it came to working in safety conscious environments.

Knowing the Client:

The culture at Vopak was very positive, collaborative and responsible and there was no reason at all for this to change, as they seemed to have found the perfect formula for success.Only the very best candidate would do, and they came in the form of an accomplished FD with demonstrable experience in domestic and international business environments with all of the necessary qualifications and the necessary gravitas.

Identifying the Candidate:

For this particular headhunt, we focused our resources on the very best FDs with proven success in facilitating big business mergers and joint ventures.We widened our search and deployed our resources over a number of sectors, focussing on the key transferrable skills required for this role.

Simply Bringing the Right People Together:

In a nutshell, this is what we do. As the client was open to a mix of backgrounds we were able to target hugely successful businesses where their finance people would have strong transferable skills.Having the ability to find the very best candidates for our clients from any sector is one of the things that separates from traditional, sector specific headhunters.The candidate that we found was an exceptional prospect and so had been approached by several other companies about opportunities.We worked closely with them to understand their motivations and career aspirations though, so were able to convince them of the benefits of choosing Vopak as their next employer.