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executive search, RETAIL

CEO for a large retail company to implement anti-crisis strategy

A large retail company contacted Kontakt InterSearch Russia to select a candidate for the CEO position. The new manager had to ensure the organization's manageability under the risk of bankruptcy and tax or criminal claims, reduce all possible expenses, help the company get out of the crisis, make timely payments on loans to banks, and allow the shareholder to earn a profit.
Key challenges
The client's condition was a ban on mentioning the name of the company and its field of activity during meetings with candidates, both during the interview with the agency and during communication at the stage of selection with the HR Director and the owner, which required the consultants to further motivate the candidates.

Complex company changes required the candidate to have relevant experience. In addition, in managing the company they had to combine "pessimistic planning" with the search for alternative resources. It turned out that only a few candidates had enough experience to qualify for the position.
Project progress and specifics
The client wanted to know how competent the candidates were in the areas of finance and crisis management. Together with the client, a list of 36 critical topics was compiled. During the two-hour meeting, consultants tested both professional skills and soft skills, which are especially important for managing people in difficult conditions of instability. It was also important to agree that all interviews were recorded, despite the complexity of the topics and experiences discussed.

An interesting nuance of the project was the technical education of the owner. The consultants noticed that both the client and several candidates drew diagrams, squares, arrows, and triangles during the interview, representing their experience, and that it was most likely the analytical kind of candidate the shareholder would find easier to find common ground with.

Three months after the first meeting with the client, the new CEO took office. The selected candidate had extensive operational experience in large structures, as well as in crisis situations with complex deadlines. Like the owner, they had a STEM background. The priority areas of work for them became the construction of clear business processes, employee development, and organization of breakthrough projects, which responded to the needs of the company.

Another feature was the agreement on the offer. In the end, the parties agreed to a lower fixed salary, but with the candidate's inclusion in the shareholding and a complex incentive system. The bonus part included a percentage of profits, bonuses for the implementation of specific projects, and additional amounts for special "near-business" orders of the owner. Thus, the candidate's fixed salary was 2.5 times less than declared, and the final income was 3 times higher than planned.
With the arrival of the new CEO, the brand began its active development with a focus on cities with over a million residents. In a turbulent economic environment, the company manages to meet the financial KPIs of the business. In addition, competent management ensured the continued expansion of the retail chain, and the shareholder not only did not lose the business, but also received the desired income.