Honeywell Group Nigeria is one of Nigeria’s foremost conglomerates with business interests in a variety of sectors including consumer goods, real estate, power generation, and electronic security. Their Honeywell Flour Mills business are makers of pasta, flour and noodles and are one of the dominant players in this consumer goods market in West Africa and are something of a household name.
As part of our ongoing relationship with Honeywell Group, Rockpools were asked to support the Flour Mills business with the recruitment of a Manufacturing Director. The role has responsibility for all manufacturing at the two large plants in Lagos, Nigeria, reports to the Chief Executive and is part of this listed business’s leadership team. The brief was to conduct an international search for people with considerable leadership and change management experience in the consumer goods sector who demonstrated an ability and willingness to work in the West Africa environment. We were also encouraged to search locally (that is, within Nigeria).
The search drew in a range of potentially interested candidates who were either in Nigeria or had experience of working in the West Africa environment in various aspects of consumer goods including in personal care, food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Clearly, making a move making a return to West Africa is not a decision taken lightly and often involved candidates simply wanting to initially explore the opportunity while also discussing with their families. Candidates outside Nigeria who expressed an interest, were interested and were recommended were from various countries including Spain, Ghana, India and Indonesia. Candidates were interviewed by Rockpools remotely and of those recommended who our client wanted to meet, video calls were conducted. Alongside this, we generated an array of candidates working for Nigerian entities of multi-national companies or for Nigerian food and beverage companies. As the process continued, our client narrowed the field to three candidates who were all of Nigerian origin and were all working for multi-national companies in Nigeria. A feature of our work and no doubt the strength of the Honeywell Group brand was that these three candidates were willing to consider moving from a multi-national company to a local conglomerate – a fairly unusual scenario.
In the event one of those local candidates accepted the role even though the remit at the outset was less than he had in his current role where he also covered supply chain, distribution, engineering and process improvement. He did so as there was a promise that as part of the change agenda for the company he would be able to take on those additional responsibilities over time, and in any case the scale of Honeywell Flour Mills’ operations were such that they were about three times the size of his previous employer’s Nigeria operations. There was also the potential for him to become the Managing Director of this listed business in due course. He moved from PZ Cussons. The negotiations at the end were tricky as there were also plenty of reasons why the preferred candidate could remain where he was as he was well regarded, was about to get a further promotion, and was not relishing the considerable amount of further travel involved in the Honeywell Group role. We worked collaboratively with the HR Director and the head of the foods business to draw this to a successful conclusion.
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