Case study: finding an overqualified Plant Manager for our client in Germany


Van de Groep & Olsthoorn in the Netherlands and the German partner of the International Executive Search Federation (IESF) TOPOS Personalberatung worked together in finding an Plant Manager in the South of Germany, near Munich.
The client is one of the major food production groups in the Netherlands, with factories in Belgium, France, Germany and several other European countries. The client had acquired a small but renowned German family owned company in 2016. The main goal was to integrate this company in the larger organisation, making it a production site instead of a independant company with its own sales and supply chain.

Attitude changes

But, as in many cases, personnel kept resisting these changes, also because several family members still worked in the company. Also, the company was established 50 years ago in a small village, where everybody knows everybody.
Discussing with the client the options, it was decided that in this case the best solution would be to employ an overqualified, experienced manager. This Plant Manager would get the assignment and full power to change the company, preferably while keeping the people, but radically changing their attitude. This is, as we all know, one of the most difficult assignments a manager can have. It was also decided that the manager had to be a person from the region, and also experienced in complex change projects in food production.

A succesful search partnership

For this, Van de Groep & Olsthoorn contacted German IESF-partner Florian Koenen from TOPOS. We agreed that Van de Groep & Olsthoorn would search in The Netherlands, whereas TOPOS would search in Germany. Incidentally, one of the presented candidates by Topos was a German person living in the Netherlands, and we found an excellent Dutch candidate living in Germany.
In the end, Florian Koenen succeeded in finding the right candidate, who was available and could start at a very short notice. Now, over a year later, this candidate has already been promoted within the food production group, for similar assignments internationally.

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Recent vierden wij als team van Van de Groep & Olsthoorn mijn 12,5-jarig jubileum bij het bedrijf. Een mijlpaal voor mij, maar vooral ook een bijzonderheid in algemene zin om als 32-jarige al 12,5 jaar bij dezelfde werkgever te werken. Wij vonden het een mooi moment om daarom eens stil te staan bij deze periode die gekenmerkt wordt door ontwikkeling; de ontwikkeling van een organisatie en de ontwikkeling als mens.

Duurzaamheid, sustainability, CO2-uitstoot, energietransitie, footprint; er zijn vele modieuze termen voor “verstandig met de wereld omgaan”. En terecht. Wij stellen vast dat dit ook bij onze opdrachtgevers en kandidaten in toenemende mate speelt.