Energy Storage Company

The Situation

Start-up energy storage company required a top-performing Chief Operations Officer (COO) to help drive the business forward. The successful candidate would need to be based in the province of Groningen, in the Netherlands. The COO needed the skills and expertise to be capable of managing a complex stakeholder group, which includes Heads of State and private equity investors, playing a lead role with multi-billion project investment and leading within a start-up organisation.

Due to Covid-19, this meant the search process had to be delivered virtually.  The project was also under time pressure, an exhaustive search process which typically takes six-to-eight weeks, was delivered in four.

The Challenge

A key challenge when undertaking the search was the location, Groningen is in Northern Holland, 200km north-east of Amsterdam.   The majority of candidates were located across Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht and not attracted by the prospect of relocating to Groningen.

Further to this, being a start-up, the company is still a relatively unknown entity.  Couple this with the projects being in their infancy it becomes vital to accurately articulate the organisations vision and journey.  This will help the candidates understand the attractiveness of the opportunity.  However, whilst the remit was of interest the organisation was perceived as high risk to those with a background in more established companies.

The solution

Unlike the traditional recruitment methods agencies or internal teams would employ, such as accessing a database or advertising, Gibson Watts proactively targeted specific organisations and identified individuals with the required skill set through an exhaustive executive search process.

The identified candidates were confidentially approached and put through a rigorous assessment process, which culminated in more than twenty-five interviews and a shortlist of the best five presented to the client.

The Leadership Team of our client were updated throughout the process, utilising video conferencing to assess the project on a weekly basis.

By aligning with our clients’ values, the relationships within the team and company culture, we were able to provide the business with a breadth of individuals that traditional recruitment methods would not have been able to access.

Next stage

Gibson Watts supported the client throughout the interview process, delivering behavioural and leadership assessments and detailed character referencing to support the final hiring decision.  Once the successful candidate had accepted the offer, the client and candidate were both supported through the onboarding process to ensure a smooth transition and early success.  The successful candidate was a female executive who had spent the prior twenty-five years at Shell but walked away for the right opportunity with the help of Gibson Watts.

If you would like to find out more about our Executive Search service, contact us today.

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