We were retained by a well-known, Fortune 150 nationwide retailer with 1,000+ stores to lead the search for a new Chief Information and Digital Officer reporting to their CEO. This role was newly created following the retirement of the previous CIO, and the role was enlarged to include responsibility for all information technology, digital technology, UX, digital product development as well as the end-to-end ecommerce P&L, which included marketing, sales, support, fulfillment and other typical support functions.
Our partner was eager to recruit from a leading direct-to-consumer style company due to the company's own ambitions to grow digital and ecommerce as a channel within their business. We focused our search on retail, ecommerce, hospitality, air travel and consumer services companies. Our partner also required this role to be local and, as a result, we had to identify a leader who could relocate to company headquarters in the US Midwest.
Our search took five weeks from sign-off to shortlist, and it accomplished a 60% diversity rate with four of the six finalists being either female or BAME executives. In less than two months, we closed the search by hiring a top retail and ecommerce technology executive who had been working for one of the US’s best known department store retail groups in New York. This executive relocated to the Midwest, remains in role today and has become a CEO succession candidate due to their highly successful journey.
We were retained by a leading global industrial and B2B auctioneering business based in Vancouver to find a new SVP and CIO to report to the President and COO. Given the highly industrial and blue-collar nature of this company, within the organization IT and technology was historically viewed as a corporate function and of limited use to those working in the field.
The President and COO (who was newly hired) were proactively looking to modernize the business and embrace digitalization while seeking to become more technology forward in all of their core functions. As such, the role in question was a newly created position designed to elevate IT and technology onto the leadership team and legitimizing it as a business critical and strategic function.
Given the fact that this position was newly created and that our partner had historically not invested significantly in IT and technology, we needed to find a leader who could meet these challenges head on. This person had to be able to manage within the company's risk averse culture but also drive the necessary change across the business, including significant IT led streamlining, rapid digitalization and bringing a focus on data and analytics. Also, as a field sales and blue collared business by nature, our partner needed someone who could relate to everyone in the business and bring a style that would be endearing to executives and field personnel alike.
Our search took six weeks from sign-off to shortlist yielding a 40% diversity rate with two of the five female executives as finalists. In the end, the client decided to hire a female executive from a very well-known Seattle based coffee chain to spearhead their technology transformation. She had previously worked in several industrial and supply chain led businesses, and her experience working in these companies set her apart from the rest of the pack.
The CEO of this client company retained us to recover a failing EVP and Group CIO search which another well-known search firm had been awarded almost twelve months prior but had failed to deliver. Our client was one of the best-known US retailers with thousands of stores and more than 100,000 associates but, like many retailers, they had been struggling to compete with leading ecommerce retailers. Sales at this company had been in decline for several years, and its brand, reputation and marketability had suffered in the process. Our client trusted us to restart the search and to embrace their challenges as an opportunity to drive significant change and transformation.
Initially, we worried that due to the involvement of another agency for nearly a year prior to our engagement, the market might have been exhausted and jaded with this search. We formed an extensive list of all the US’s medium and large format retailers as well as the leading ecommerce, hospitality, air travel and consumer services companies. We then set about reaching out to all of the relevant IT and technology officers and quickly and decisively took our message of change, reinvention and opportunity to these executives. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that more than 60% of candidates had yet to be contacted about the search, and we were able to tell our story and that of our client unencumbered by any legacy messaging.
Our search took ten weeks from our first involvement to the point of shortlist. During this process, we engaged with more than 600 executives globally, interviewing more than 100 of them and arriving at a final list of eight presented candidates from a range of consumer facing industries. Our client was elated by the change in productivity and couldn’t believe that we had been able to solicit the interest of so many top executives from companies the prior search firm had deemed simply unattainable. Ultimately, our partner decided to hire a leading technology executive from the world’s largest ecommerce company to spearhead their technology led transformation.