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Case Study Managing Director (f/m/d) North America

Initial situation / Preliminary considerations

Our client is a private company within the machine manufacturing industry and employs more than 600 people worldwide. They are looking for a general manager for North America who will oversee their American and Canadian operations.

This company has an Illinois location with 35 employees. Within this location, there are both a sales management team and an application engineering team. The current acting general manager is planning to revert to his former position as the manager for only the application engineering team.

The successful candidate will be focussing on sales management and will need in-depth knowledge and understanding of european culture and business practices. The position does not require fluency in German.

  • Industry: mechanical engineering

  • 120 target companies identified
  • 200 approached candidates
  • 10 interviews by telephone
  • 6 candidates were personal interviewed
  • 4 presented candidates

Procedure / Project realisation

The target list contains companies within the machinery, construction, plant engineering and automotive supply industry that have european foundations. We will also be looking for additional candidates from within the chemical and optics industry who have a similar clientele. The initial target list included 120 companies. From within this list, we then identified the most suitable first and second level sales management candidates. The ideal candidate should have ten years experience in a leadership position as well as at least five years experience within American businesses and will be well acquainted with American business practices.

After a few weeks and more than 200 initial telephone contacts, we compiled a short list of ten interesting candidates. Most of the candidates are sales engineers from European, particularly German, companies in North America. After conducting preselective telephone interviews, six optimal candidates were chosen for personal interviews, that later take place in Chicago.

After returning to Germany, the consultants discussed the results with the client´s General Manager and recommended four candidates for presentation. Two of the candidates were eliminated, as they did not meet the client´s requirements. As it happened, our client´s General Manager was going to attend a trade fair in the United States at the same time, which allowed him the opportunity to personally interview the remaining four candidates.

In the end they choose a Regional Sales Manager from a well known, publically traded, German manufacturing company. The candidate has been based in the United States for over 15 years and was the team leader of a four person sales and application team for seven years. His main reason for taking the position lay in the fact that it offered additional responsibilities and greater professional latitude.

Three months later, he began his job and the project was successfully completed.