How external expertise changed the future of a PE investment
Building the management team for value creation in private equity-backed business
Our client wished to replace an MD immediately, but also take the time to find the right permanent hire.
NSCG created a joined-up interim-perm solution to achieve both goals through a stronger, more cost-effective overall process.
Interim MD stepped in successfully to ensure customer centricity and provide stability. Permanent hire took over to accelerate profit improvement plan.
It’s the right move for PE houses to replace an underperforming MD/CEO quickly when a portfolio company fails to meet expected goals and milestones. Portfolio Chairman, Chris Clegg, whose portfolio has included BGF, Palatine, LDC, Foresight and Nimbus investments explains it can be even smarter to choose a combined Interim and Permanent recruitment solution to speed up value creation, streamline the recruitment process and reduce hiring costs.
Following the acquisition of a high-potential, hi-tech manufacturer from a retiring owner-manager Chris Clegg was invited by the investing Private Equity House to act as Chairman to work with a buy in candidate chosen to succeed the retiring managing director.
As Chairman, Clegg was tasked with providing oversight and building a new board who could help maximise value creation and accelerate the growth strategy.
It soon became apparent to both the Chairman and Private Equity House that the newly appointed MD was mis-matched to the specific demands of the role. The MD brought a good track-record, but lacked the full skillset needed to deliver on the portfolio company’s growth plans. After a number of key milestones were missed, the Chair recommended that the MD should be replaced as soon as possible to put the investment strategy back on track.
Both the private equity investor and Chairman did not want to rush into making another permanent appointment as it was imperative to get the right long term person in place.
However a change of leadership was required swiftly.
As an experienced search and assessment partner to private equity, NSCG was invited to recommend a route forward. Our answer was a dual interim-perm hiring solution that covered every angle and concern.
Interim Partners at NSCG’s team had a number of high-calibre interim MDs ready to step in straight away ensuring there was no gap in leadership after the incumbent MD stepped down. The chosen interim could provide immediate stability and continuity whilst still moving the business forward.
At the same time, our permanent search and assessment specialists embarked on a robust selection process, informed by comprehensive data and market intelligence. Crucially, the two teams could work closely in tandem and combine their insight and expertise. Moreover, benchmarking data from the interim’s performance could be shared to strengthen the search and assessment process.
This hybrid talent solution streamlined and strengthened the permanent hiring process to maximise the chance of appointing the right candidate for the long term. A joined-up solution would mean lower total hiring costs than two separate hiring exercises.
Results & outcomes
Both the Chairman and Private Equity house embraced the NSCG solution and engaged us to deliver the joined-up approach. They chose their preferred interim, who was in the MD position within 10 days of NSCG taking on the project.
From day one, the interim took a series of steps to stabilise the business and re-focus and energise the workforce. The business itself was strong with a superb client list however its anticipated growth had stalled completely through slow progress on key priorities – in particular the creation of new operational systems and a focus on building the brand alongside marketing and sales capabilities.
The interim initially focused on solving the major operational issues that were hindering production scale-up and order fulfilment. He also started the process of upskilling key leaders and managers within the incumbent team.
The interim’s strong performance gave our executive search team the time and benchmarking data to run a best-in-class assessment and selection process. Once the right candidate was identified and appointed, a smooth handover took place with no impact on business continuity.
Since taking up the role, the permanent MD has built on the interim’s foundation to address each of the former barriers to growth. Where previously, every month had seen the portfolio fall further behind its milestones, it has now repeatedly accelerated towards them – and is strongly positioned to deliver on growth targets, in spite of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.