Senior Vice President – Operations | Rapidly Growing Electric Mobility Company
Following a forensic examination of the most suitable talent in the market, NGS Global secured the services of an exceptional automotive operations leader.
Our client was a leader in Electric Vehicle (EV) technology for commercial last mile (intra-city) transportation needs in India. Its vehicles were built on an electric mobility platform that was fully developed in-house, backed by 25 global patents granted in over 60 countries, including the United States. Our client’s EV was designed keeping road and infrastructure conditions in mind, and compared to a diesel three- or four-wheeler, their product came in at significantly lower cost of ownership.
Moreover, the vehicle could be charged at home from a standard power socket, eliminating the need for specific charging infrastructure, and one charge gave a journey range of 150 kilometers. Co-founded by an ex-NASA engineer, our client had already managed to attract a top notch leadership team, many of whom were hired by NGS Global over the preceding two years.
As our client drew up ambitious plans for future growth, including setting up new manufacturing facilities, they were seeking to fill a critical leadership role. They needed someone to head their Manufacturing and Quality functions, with the potential to also lead the Supply Chain function at some point (which was under another leader since their start-up days). Reporting to the co-founders of the company, the role would eventually become the Chief Operating Officer, a position that was to be kept vacant till then.
The need was for a senior, experienced and accomplished leader who had extensive domain know-how in the automotive sector, technical and commercial acumen, sound people leadership skills (managing both the white and blue collar workforce), and the ability to get things done while streamlining operations to drive efficiency and world class quality. The person was required to work closely with cross functional teams from Engineering, Supply Chain, Finance, Sales/Marketing, Services, and Product. They were expected to drive the agenda of scaling up production capacities to 10X in three years, reducing production cost, improving quality, as well as defining and executing operations strategy, structure, and processes.
Strategy and Approach
Since this was a new and critical position, the co-founders wanted to follow an agile approach to defining the ideal candidate profile, ie. based on the talent available in the market and who they saw. The NGS Global team had multiple discussions with the co-founders to flesh out key deliverables, cultural nuances, and the current team composition in the function.
We thoroughly researched the entire automotive sector in India, including three and four-wheeler original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), but excluded two-wheeler OEMs. Our team focused on candidates who had built and/or led multiple manufacturing units in the sector, led large workforces (of the scale of 5,000+), resolved critical industrial relations issues, and had been career manufacturing professionals with experience in driving and maintaining product quality.
We broke down organization structures of all our major target companies in the industry in order to discover relevant candidates, supplemented by industry references. When we interviewed candidates, we checked for cultural alignment and whether the leader could earn the respect of our client’s leadership team as well as the workforce. We also checked for speed of execution, as that was a key success factor in the role. The detailed qualification process we followed ensured that only the most suitable candidates were interviewed by our client, of whom one was offered the position.
Our NGS Global Value-Add
• Ability to understand the key requirements of the client, and execute a thorough and structured research methodology which led to the discovery of candidates who were otherwise not obviously visible.
• Partner-led search execution, which was critical as most of our target candidates had spent a long time at their current organizations. A nuanced and sophisticated pitch was required to get them excited about joining a rapidly growing company, which was much smaller in size. We advocated the opportunity confidently and with passion.
• Minimal off-limits in the automotive industry, which meant that we could provide our client access to the widest range of talent that was available and, in turn, hire the best person for the job.
• Presenting the client with our talent and market insights that helped the client, in an agile manner, shape their own thoughts on what would constitute an ideal candidate for the role.