Sector: Agribusiness and farming
Millar Cameron secures a Managing Director for an Agribusiness company based in Zambia
Helping a private equity fund, specialising in agribusiness, source a Managing Director for their upheaval in Zambia.
Our client, an equity fund specialising in agribusiness in Africa asked us to find a replacement Managing Director. The company were looking to exit in the next two years and did not feel that the operation was in an adequate state for them to sell it for its full worth. They had not yet started searching and agreed for Millar Cameron to be the sole recruitment partner for the role.
The client had purchased the business and did not feel that the Managing Director who was in place was doing a sufficient job. They were specifically looking for someone who had experience turning around a failing business within the poultry sector in Africa.
Upon taking a brief from the client, we devised a list of over 50 poultry organisations in the sub-saharan African market that we could target. We had established that the client would either be looking at someone already at General Manager or Managing Director level, or someone looking at making the move up from being an Operations or Financial Director - which allowed us to broaden our search profile.
We first looked into who we knew that could either do the role or refer us to potentially relevant candidates. We then carried out a comprehensive search through direct headhunting and LinkedIn, as well as by advertising the role on the relevant job boards.
We found that whilst there was a large pool of candidates to talk to, there was a lack of credible candidates. A number of the candidates we spoke to had strong CVs but upon talking to them or after speaking to mutual connections, we realised that they were not at the standard our client needed.
There were also geo-political issues that meant Zambia was a harder location to recruit for. Avian flu was still a real threat in the country and the local currency had been devaluing, meaning it was more of a challenge to convince candidates of how big an opportunity this was.
We devised a shortlist of ten candidates who we interviewed ourselves, asking them 20 questions that we had agreed with the client. From this, we chose the strongest six candidates and submitted them to the client. Along with their CV, we sent the answers to the interview questions and a full remuneration document, allowing the client to make a decision based on more than just a CV.
Throughout the interview process we were highly involved; we booked in the initial Skype calls with the candidates that they liked, then for the final stage interviews we worked closely with the client to book flights and get the candidate in-country.
There were many stakeholders involved on the client side and because the interview process happened during the summer months. For a lot of the time they were travelling, meaning that there were often periods of time before we received any news. Millar Cameron’s consultant regularly kept in contact with candidates to ensure they were happy and to understand if anything had changed their end in order to make sure they had a positive recruitment experience.
The candidate that was finally chosen had been working in the poultry industry for over ten years, working his way up from Financial Manager to Managing Director previously. The client felt that his strong financial background, along with his senior management experience, gave him the ideal blend of experience to drive the business forward and so he was offered the position.
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