A leading mid-market private equity fund portfolio company
A leading mid-market private equity firm retained Morgan Samuels to place the Chief Executive Officer for its portfolio company, one of the most recognized brands in wastewater treatment equipment manufacturing.
At the time the search was launched, the portfolio company’s client base was 95% municipal and 5% industrial. They were looking for a CEO to diversify the client base by significantly growing the industrial portion of the overall business, and to triple its international business.
To achieve those goals, the company needed a CEO who was a strategic leader and visionary; an action-oriented executive who could move quickly. This individual would need to have industrial and international experience, a track record of growing a business, and to have run a business of similar size. The preference was also to find someone with more of a sales and marketing background than operational.
A key question was whether to seek a sitting CEO, or a division President or General Manager who was earlier in their career, and ready for the next step up. This person would be stepping into a situation where a lot of the senior management had been there for quite a long time – many over 10 – 20 years. The company was undergoing a clear shift in strategic direction and the incoming CEO would be making a big impact. It was critical to find a dynamic candidate who could confidently and successfully lead through this period of tremendous change.
Based on these factors, and in partnership with the portfolio company and the private equity firm, we developed a focused candidate profile. We targeted industrial manufacturing companies, giving preference to companies that were private equity backed. To mitigate the potential relocation challenge, we decided to start in the Southern California region, then move to the West coast as a whole, and then progress across the country, if necessary. We presented to our client candidates who fit both potential profiles – the sitting CEO vs. the executive who had risen through the ranks and was ready to assume their first CEO position.
Morgan Samuels contacted nearly 250 potential candidates, out of which our client interviewed six. The new CEO was identified and hired in 107 days. The placement – who was a local candidate – had extensive experience managing rapid growth and change within organizations. In his previous position, he successfully led the acquisition of several businesses, expanded channels in international markets, and led the introduction of new product lines. Prior to that, he had held engineering and development positions in the chemical industry.