Client: Privately held retail company

Our client is a CEO and local entrepreneur who has operated one of the most successful retail operations within their niche in the Indianapolis market for over 30 years and is ranked top 100 nationally. Not only do they provide a wide range of top-quality products, but first-in-class service.

The Challenge:

With operating in a highly competitive industry combined with ambition for company growth and future succession planning, the CEO saw the need to create a new position for COO.  This critical position required a dynamic individual who would have a unique skill set combining, operations, sales and accounting expertise along with knowledge of the industry.  In addition to the technical expertise, this would also require someone who would be a personality match for a CEO with high expectations and driven for success. Working alongside the CEO, they would develop both short and long-term strategies to drive the success and profitability of the business. The COO would focus on providing the leadership, management and vision necessary to ensure the company has the proper operational controls, administrative and reporting procedures, and people systems in place to effectively grow the organization and to ensure financial strength and operating efficiency.

The Solution:

A Partner of the firm had multiple discussions with the CEO of the organization to focus on the top skills required for the ideal candidate in addition to creating a custom job description outlining the primary responsibilities of the role along with defining the personality type that would work best in their environment.  This role would really be the right hand to the CEO so the goal was to identify someone he could not only rely on, but be a valued business partner as well. By utilizing our proprietary recruiting methodology and leveraging our network of local contacts, we were able to narrow down the most critical skills, abilities, and behavioral traits to identify the best candidates available. These included someone entrepreneurial minded with competency in strategic planning and business development, strong leadership skills, and an understanding of business functions related to HR, Finance, Marketing, Operations and Technology.  Not quite the needle in a haystack search…pretty close but we were up for the challenge!

With the ideal candidate profile defined, our team created a laser-focused search strategy.  After an intensive 10-day search, we identified, qualified and presented 4 top caliber candidates for consideration.  After multiple rounds of interviews, our candidate, who brought over 20 years of operations, business development and finance experience along with exposure to the retail industry, was offered the job.  During his career, our candidate was extensively involved with driving profitability and growth within a leading division of his prior company which ultimately helped facilitate positioning the company for sale to a strategic buyer.  Additionally, he was extremely polished, had exceptional communications skills along with a confident and pleasantly assertive personality.  What impressed our client the most about our candidate, was he took the time to craft and present ideas on developing strategic initiatives and process improvements to drive the success of the business.

The Success:

For this search, our team also successfully facilitated the offer and negotiation process which resulted in our candidate accepting the new role of COO.  This high-touch approach was needed since our candidate had worked for one company a majority of his career and did not have substantial experience with salary negotiations or changing employers and needed to better understand the value our client’s Total Compensation Package–which included a lucrative profit sharing incentive along with future opportunity for equity.  The other important variable was coaching the candidate through the emotional decision to leave his current employer after receiving several promotions over a 10-year timeframe and being highly regarded in the company.  Based on our advice, this particular compensation package was renegotiated by our client’s CEO, which ultimately worked for meeting the needs of the candidate to develop a win/win scenario.  Both our client and candidate have provided feedback that this has been an ideal match on both sides.  In fact, our client recently shared with us that the COO’s performance has exceeded expectations faster than anticipated and has made an immediate impact on driving the success of the business.