Despite only 25 people worldwide matching the candidate profile our client wanted, NGS Global successfully sourced an accomplished executive who was not looking to move.


Our client specializes in the production and distribution of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), which are the substances in drugs that create the desired medical/therapeutic effect. 

Serving a diverse and senior client-base of blue-chip pharma companies, they have production facilities in Europe and Asia, and are involved in the manufacture of more than 100 APIs which play a critical role in the healthcare sector, not to mention transform and save the lives of thousands of patients annually.


The organization needed a leader to drive the business unit for a specific API. 

This very specific API is mostly manufactured by companies in India and China. As our client was headquartered in Europe, they had a market position that was considered more expensive than their Asia-based competitors, but delivered a superior quality of product, with an established range of discerning European clientele. However, this client-base was at risk as their competitors were refining and improving their offerings. 

A strong need was therefore required for a commercial and savvy leader to maintain our client’s edge and satisfaction with their Europe-based customers, shore up better production and supply chain processes, and take market share away from their global rivals. The company had recently been acquired by a private equity backed conglomerate, with considerable growth ambitions in this and other fields.

The Head of API BU should strengthen their business with an immediate focus on their European customer-base. They were looking for someone who had led and optimized the sales and marketing of this particular API, and had extensive contacts in the industry, especially on the business and sourcing sides. 

The successful candidate needed to have a comprehensive and accomplished background of leading and optimizing supply chain processes and sales networks. The company needed to be commercially sophisticated and savvy, operationally astute, and adept at crafting compelling propositions that are cognizant of the competitiveness of the industry. An intimate understanding of the customer’s needs and pain-points, price-to-value ratios, and supply chain sources was essential.  

Most importantly, the successful hire had to have an exceptional comprehension of cultural variances and be comfortable operating across different nationalities and geographies. The supply chain is extremely complex and multi-faceted, and involves clear communication and negotiation skills with a wide swathe of external suppliers that transcend regional and national boundaries.  


A key challenge was the fact that the respective companies tend to have low profiles, as do the people running these organizations, who are rarely on LinkedIn or business databases. Due to the specificity of the search, and as the API is such a specialty product, there were about 25 people in the world that matched the brief. Most of the potential candidates would also invariably have strict competition clauses in their employment contracts. 

We did a deep analysis of the relevant market and identified the whole spectrum of the market and the companies to target. We then undertook a comprehensive and thorough research exercise on companies globally, which required a very methodological and detailed approach, because many API companies do not say if they specifically manufacture the respective niche product. 

We then continually worked with the client to iterate and refine our target list. This became a productive and insightful market research exercise for our client – they learnt a lot about the competitive landscape throughout this process; new companies that they were not aware of, and the people leading those organizations. 

Due to the sensitive nature of the search, our outreach to candidates had to be handled extremely carefully. We were subtle, nuanced and professional in our approach and process. 


After a comprehensive process and several rounds of interviews, we successfully placed a top-tier candidate who was not initially looking to move, but was a perfect fit for the role. 

He came with considerable expertise in the industry, great strategic and conceptual management skills, and a genuine thirst for embracing new challenges. 

Having previously been at a smaller company that was quite static, the successful placement was particularly attracted to our client being a PE backed enterprise with significant growth ambitions. The candidate is a native English speaker, which our client felt was extremely important when dealing with operations and customers around the globe. 


• Our deep experience in managing and executing sensitive search projects that require professionalism, subtlety, and nuance when reaching out to potential candidates.

• Building deep trust and openness with our client to enable candid conversations about the search strategy, and having the ability to pivot and tweak throughout.  

• Providing additional value to the client in the form of a detailed assessment of the competitor landscape.

• Persistence and global approach.


Contact Richard Crux (Project Lead)

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