Transforming a Business Unit in Decline


In the wake of industry consolidation, the owners of a European-based combustion engine manufacturer decided the time had come to re-size its manufacturing footprint and consolidate new engine build in another country. Investment in the facility - and in its workforce - was declining, leading to the loss of key skills to competitors; low morale; and union grievances as employees waited for the facility to close.
However, what the company hadn't properly grasped, was that its own customers were fiercely loyal to the type of engines built in this factory. No one had fully appreciated that fact, coupled with the reluctance of customers to switch to new or alternative unproven propulsion systems.


We leveraged our proprietary TRANSEARCH Orxestra™ Method to create a unique organizational scorecard of critical leadership competencies required to find the perfect candidate.
What kind of business leader could take up this monumental challenge?

The company's next leader would have to first unlock and then solve a complex business question: Was it truly in the company's best interests to close this underperforming manufacturing facility and stop producing a highly regarded and reliable engine? Or was there potential to upgrade the existing engines and support them for the next ten or fifteen years - while also supporting the launch of new products over time?

With our TRANSEARCH Orxestra™ scorecard in hand to guide our path forward, we defined the business scope, outlined potential business strategies and developed the candidate criteria for our search campaign. Our team scoured the globe, speaking to over one hundred sources and potential candidates, searching for the right business leader.

And we found him. The strategic hire our client needed was a heavy machinery industry executive who had lived and worked in key markets including China and Germany. He had just reached the end of an assignment to set up an Asian business and had recently returned to his home in Europe. We caught him just at the right time, and with no time for our client to spare.

He convinced our client that he could not only resurrect a declining business, but potentially create a new product and service portfolio that would retain existing clients, attract new ones and invite fresh new investment by its corporate parent.


Our successful candidate made an immediate impact. Not only did he command instant industry credibility with our client and its parent company, but he also brought a strategic perspective on its markets and a roadmap for transforming its organisation – root and branch. A new sales team was hired; the engineering and project management functions were up-skilled and the manufacturing facility was completely overhauled, ready to fulfill the order book that he believed would materialise over the next five years.

With a bold vision to protect market share, penetrate new foreign markets and invest for the company's future, the new leader is hoping to double sales results this year and double them again the following year. He's helped the company secure major new contracts - commercial and military - and win back the support of the workforce. A real sense of pride has returned.

The parent company that was intent on significantly downsizing this particular operation is promising new investments in the business now that the new leader has won the confidence of his new global management team.


Our client's Human Resources Director says the appointment of this new executive leader has completely transformed the fortunes of the business - and is also now positioning it as a significant strategic node in the global organizational structure.

Our client also admitted that the appointment has reflected well on him personally, for leading a search assignment that had started out with relatively low expectations of success. The sceptics have now become our client's most ardent advocates, proving once again - as we learn time and again in our business - that the insertion of just one person can sometimes change the entire future direction of a company for the better.

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