Case Study

Succession: COO to CEO in the Global Food Processing Equipment Market

Delve into the strategic moves of a prominent company in the global food processing machinery industry, as they navigate the transition of their retiring CEO, revealing a tale of succession planning, creative sourcing of candidates, and rapid advancement of the successful placement.

By Paul W. Schmidt

The Client

For 75 years, the Client has been a market leader in designing and producing specialized food processing equipment serving a global market. Their commitment to unique, high-quality machinery and strong customer relationships has resulted in consistent revenue and superior margins over several decades.

The Challenge

The challenge was to recruit a new COO to succeed the incumbent CEO, who planned to retire within a year. The retiring CEO, who we recruited 15 years earlier, had succeeded the Founder. The incoming COO needed extensive experience in the global food processing supply chain, the marketing of food processing equipment, and with a primary focus on retaining long standing customer relationships. It was also important for them to demonstrate potential for advancement to the CEO position within a year.

The Solution

To address the challenge, we developed a two pronged research strategy:  We targeted senior-level commercial leaders in speciality food processing equipment manufacturers; and we also identified and assessed senior supply chain executives with a general management orientation in leading food processing companies. Candidates were evaluated from sales, marketing, and general management perspectives to determine their potential for the CEO role.

The Results

As a result of our efforts, we presented a slate of four candidates who had demonstrated success in customer-facing roles within the food processing industry. The chosen candidate was the former VP of Operations for a large, specialized food processing company. Within 6 months, he was able to ascend to the CEO position, showcasing exceptional leadership capabilities, a laser like focus on the customer, and adaptability to his new role.

About the Author
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