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Case Study General Manager (f/m/d) Harbour

Initial situation / Preliminary considerations

Our client is a European, stock listed company, within the metal industry. Because of the company’s logistical requirements and their need to have guaranteed access to raw materials, they own and operate their own harbour facility in northern Germany. Since the early 1980s, the port handling plants of the harbour were modernized and automated. That level of automation allowed the amount of goods being handled to double while the number of employees remained the same.

The previous General Manager came from within the process automation department of the parent company and they developed the modernization of the harbour’s equipment based on his expertise. Using laser, GPS and radio controlled technology, they are able to take care of unloading, carriage and transportation of the goods.

The level of automation at this harbour makes it a world-leading facility.

The successful candidate will oversee the technical progress of the facility, optimize the maintenance and plan extensions. Another important task for this position is to ensure a positive relationship with the authorities, regulators and politicians. Knowledge of port environments is desirable but not crucial.

  • Industry: heavy industry

  • 200 defined target companies
  • 489 identified candidates
  • 10 interviewed candidates
  • 5 presented candidates

Procedure / Project realisation

The target list contains all the important harbours in Germany and companies within the automation, energy and the material handling sector. We also add large competitor companies with comparable requirements with regard to the transport of raw material and supply chain needs.

In the end, we have a total of more than 200 targets by the beginning of the search. Depending on the size of the target company, we identify the general management, plant management, the maintenance management and the project management. When approaching candidates we focus on their technical knowledge as well as their history of communication with authorities.

After three weeks, the first status report already contains the final candidate. Regardless, there are 13 candidates in the final status report.

Ten of the thirteen final status report candidates are personally interviewed and come from the automation and port sector. From the interviews, five candidates are selected and presented to our client

Of those five, three are chosen to meet the responsible board member for HR. The successful candidate turned out to be our initial favorite for the position. As the Head of Engineering at another port and Managing Director of several subsidiaries, he is a perfect fit for the position.

After a brief negotiation, the successful candidate was able to reduce their notice period to six months, after which they were able to take over the management of our client’s harbour facilities.