Madison MacArthur Executive Search - Technology Assignments

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Director, E-Business

Organization
International Specialty Retailer

Situation
A few years ago the US based head office of this Client had moved from an in-house to an outsourced e-commerce strategy in partnering with a full service e-commerce provider. With a new focus on developing their in-house capability again, they decided to use Canada as the test market and situate the role here – reporting directly into the US. Due to time pressures, the Client retained Madison MacArthur in Canada as well as using a contingency firm in New York.

Assessment
As the Client had a predetermined site launch date, and were already significantly behind schedule, it was critical that the hire be made very quickly. The role required experience in both site strategy/ development and experience on the operational/merchandising side to build the infrastructure to support the site.

Challenge
In addition to the breadth of experience the position required, another challenge in this hire included the need for exceptionally strong people skills to manage the politics surrounding “ownership” between the Canadian and US offices as the role would need the support of management here in building the operational side of the business. This required a level of business maturity not too often found in the e-world. As well, an excessive amount of travel would be required of the chosen candidate.

Solution
Being very well networked in this area, the team at Madison MacArthur was able to quickly hone in on the relatively small pool of potential candidates in this market that had the depth and breadth of business experience the role required. All of the candidates on our shortlist possessed a depth of traditional business experience prior to having made the change to the internet space. With a foundation of a combination of consumer goods & services and retail experience, each of the candidates had been early adopters of technology and had been responsible for developing high profile web based businesses. Each of the candidates had also worked in the US for periods of their career and understood the dynamics of brokering relationships on both sides. All four of the candidates presented by Madison MacArthur were invited to the US head office for interviews. Two potential candidates presented by the New York firm were also invited in for interviews. Of these six candidates, two of our candidates were deemed to be absolute standouts and invited back for a final round of interviews – with one of them subsequently being hired.

Candidate
As the successful candidate had extensive experience in developing e-commerce businesses and was very well networked with the appropriate resources, they were able to very quickly put the foundation in place. Working closely with both the US management in fine tuning the strategy,  and with the Canadian management in developing the operational components to support the business, they built the organization up quickly and were able, in short order, to make up for lost time.

Postmortem
Ultimately, the candidate was successful in meeting the launch date with a site that provided a high level of consumer interactivity and appeal and which garnered very positive response from the  marketplace. The President of the Canadian division commented that the candidate was likely the perfect hire as they had the business savvy to effectively engage all of the critical parties on both sides of the border – without whose support the initiative would have been an impossible challenge. The plan is to take the successful Canadian template and launch in the US in the near future.

Footnote
Madison MacArthur continues to enjoy a very close partnership with this Client.