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Finding the Ideal Candidate

Ideal Standard logoIdeal Standard International is a leading provider of total bathroom solutions, operating as a geographically dispersed pan-European business with significant sales activity in both the residential and non-residential markets.  

Ideal Standard UK, which accounts for around 30% of the overall business, is the most profitable region, and operates under three leading brands - Ideal Standard, Armitage Shanks and Sottini – supplying bathroom furnishings, fixtures and shower enclosures. The company has especially strong positions in the professional segments of the market, such as non-residential building (schools, hospitals, office buildings, hotels etc) and the large residential project market, where it operates a multi-channel demand creation model, with fulfilment via merchants. 

Following the introduction of a new CEO and a revised Group strategy, Wickland Westcott was engaged to work with Ideal Standard to find a high calibre Managing Director for the UK business.

The brief was to source candidates who could drive growth in the local market in a complex multi-channel environment whilst contributing at a European-level as an integral member of the Group senior leadership team. 

The Company’s aim in the UK is to protect and further grow its share of large B2B projects whilst capitalising on opportunities to engage more fully with end users. The search geography for the assignment, therefore, included a wide range of organisations supplying branded building products, consumer durables and FMCG goods.  Beyond this the requirement was for commercially-biased MDs with a track record of growth/transformation and the ability to inject fresh thinking and innovation into an established market.

Given the wide brief it was important that we delivered a shortlist featuring highly capable but contrasting candidates.  This required particularly close contact with the client to ensure alignment throughout. 

Mark McRae (Global VP HR) commented, “Wickland Westcott took time in the initial briefing to understand the context as well as the actual role content. They checked in on us from time to time to ensure they were reading the situation and discussed the likely fit of each of the candidates presented versus the spec”.

Based on this partnership approach we were able to field a strong but diverse set of candidates, challenging the brief through the presentation of a small number of talented left-field options; “They championed the evaluation of a key candidate who was outside the initial scope - but proved to be a strong fit”.

The assignment, which involved input from the new CEO along with NEDs and representatives from the Private Equity investor (Anchorage Capital Partners), resulted in the appointment of Jim Moore (former Western Europe Director & MD UK&I for Vaillant). Jim has made a strong early impact since joining the business.  In addition to a highly successful outcome, Mark acknowledged our flexibility: “Wickland Westcott was able to keep candidates on board even when we experienced delays due to the changing CEO schedule”.

This project followed the appointment of a high calibre Sales Director to Ideal Standard mid-way through 2015.

The Executive Search industry is increasingly alive to the value of offering coaching, assessment and development services alongside their traditional talent-finding capabilities. Wickland Westcott has been providing a fully integrated leadership service for nearly 40 years. In-house occupational psychologists work alongside market-focussed Search professionals to deliver exceptional client service and satisfaction. With extensive experience at ‘C Suite’ level, and half of our top 20 client list featuring in the FTSE 250/NYSE, Wickland Westcott has a clear picture of what makes for leadership success.

For more information on how to source the best leadership talent to grow your business, please contact Jerome Bull, Head of Industry Practice on 01625 508100 or email him at