Given the opportunity to search for an accomplished commercial leader who would provide significant input into strategy and go-to-market execution, NGS Global found an exceptional candidate ahead of schedule and well within budget.

BACKGROUND

With a pressing need to hypercharge their commercial strategy, a multi-national African poultry producer had tried to find a top-tier commercial leader for quite some time but had been unable to do so. 

The organization has two shareholders, one based in Kenya and the other out of the US. They had concurrently realized that the marketplace in which their subsidiary operated was rapidly becoming more competitive, diversified, and sophisticated. There was therefore a need to hire a top-tier commercial leader to enable a more strategic and commercially-driven approach.  

The company had unsuccessfully conducted their own recruitment process to try to identify this individual for a number of months prior to approaching NGS Global. Their initial strategy had them approaching a number of individuals from multi-national consumer firms, which was unsuccessful, as they did not have the brand reputation or appeal of large consumer companies. 

THE NEED

There was a major need for a commercially-savvy executive leader to take the company forward, bringing much needed skills and go-to-market nous to the leadership team. Such was the importance of the role, the winning candidate was to be seen as a mini-CEO of the company, and certainly a likely successor when the CEO position became vacant. 

The successful individual needed exceptionally strong commercial skills, analytical smarts, sound strategic ability, lateral thinking (particularly around product segmentation and route to market), and to possess a sophisticated level of both sales and marketing knowledge. They would also preferably have an understanding of the poultry industry, although that was a big ask in a small market. 

Whilst the company operated throughout Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia, they wanted the role to be filled by a Tanzanian citizen, and to be based in Tanzania, in recognition of the huge market potential that that country represented.

OUR SEARCH PROCESS

We started by doing a deep-dive of Tanzania’s poultry business sector, but quickly realized it is a fairly small market with a limited number of companies, so that was not particularly useful. We then broadened the search to include other Tanzanian agribusinesses, as well as Tanzanian consumer firms and NGOs, both of whom have historically been good sources of talent. 

Our customary deep-dive research was an integral ingredient in the eventual success of the search, along with our own extensive executive network of contacts throughout the region, which supplemented our findings and outreach.

OUTCOME

From a shortlist of four finalist candidates, one particularly exceptional candidate was successfully offered the position. He had an agribusiness background, having previously worked for a seed company. His considerable marketing, sales, and commercial experience meant he was the clear standout candidate even though he was up against more seasoned candidates. The opportunity also matched the candidate’s personal career goals, since he was looking to move into a role which had more challenges and learning opportunities.  

Our client wholeheartedly embraced our search process, and was extremely happy with the outcome; thrilled with the quality of their new commercial leader. From beginning to end, the project was completed in just over two months, with a candidate that comfortably met the requirements of the role and the remuneration on offer. 

OUR NGS GLOBAL VALUE-ADD

• Able to operate at the top-tier in more remote markets which face notable executive skill shortages

• Led by our Managing Partner, Africa, who closely guided the client through our focused search process (by enlightening the client about executive search, sitting on the panel interviews, providing timely and informed recommendations, etc.) 

• Our unique search process and pre-existing network enabled us to directly access the best national executive talent both quickly and successfully. 

 

Contact Terry Veitch (Project Lead)

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