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China Desk Success Stories

Success Story I

Success Story II

Success Story III

Success Story IV


Success Story I

Post-merger integration: Executive Intelligence Assessment of leaders of Chinese production sites for a German company

Initial Situation

Our client is a leading German machinery manufacturer, which was acquired by a Chinese state-owned enterprise. In the post-merger integration, six plants of the Chinese enterprise were to be integrated into the organization of the German machinery manufacturer.

The German company required us to evaluate the previous achievements, professional knowledge, management skills, strengths and potential of the executives in the Chinese plants, in order to identify potential risks and opportunities in the merged entities and screen possible conflicts at an early stage.

Client Challenge

Apart from cultural differences and language barriers, our client also had challenges relating to the personnel and business performance of the new entities. The sales revenue of the Chinese plants was down, and a few team leaders were not motivated to take on a bigger role with more responsibilities. Some managers did not initially welcome the assessment.

As our Spencer Stuart team began the executive assessment, we needed to partner with the German management team and HR leaders as well as the Chinese state-owned enterprise, which was a strategic partner of the German company after the merger, in order to understand and clarify their expectations over the assessment and to optimize the intensive work programme (over 30 individual interviews in the local plants) within six weeks.

Due to limited English proficiency, interviews were conducted in Chinese, while evaluations and summary reports were authored in English and translated in German/Chinese as required by our client.

Furthermore, all the plants are located far away from urban centers in China and therefore not particularly attractive to the external candidates we approached regarding positions in the plant management team.

Tailored Approach & Outcome

We conducted assessments of senior leaders in the Chinese production plants, analyzed their leadership styles and mission-critical leadership capabilities as well as their potential.

Despite the intercultural challenges and language barriers, the assessment reports provided our German client with a clear and transparent overview of the functional experience, leadership skills and motivations of the individual Chinese executives.

Based on robust and comparable data, we provided our client and the Chinese state-owned enterprise with greater objectivity and accuracy to sharpen the focus of their appointment decisions and leadership development. Some individuals were identified for key positions to support new strategies after the merger.

Following our assessments, we carried out a comprehensive mapping within four weeks in order to help our client obtain insights into the competitive market of Chinese management talent with deep international professional experience.

At the end of the project, we managed to place two well qualified Chief Operating Officers for the Chinese plants on behalf of our client.

“I have known the plant general managers and management teams in these plants for years. The assessment conducted on these leaders are very well in line with my understanding of them.” President of the Chinese state-owned enterprise

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Success Story II

Optimization of complex industrial production and delivery processes between Europe and China: Spencer Stuart advised on recruiting Global Integrated Supply Chain Executive

Initial Situation

Our client is a leading, rapidly growing manufacturer of textile machinery with global presence in DACH region, North and South America as well as Asia. The company operates as a subsidiary of a Chinese privately held machinery group.

The globalized business model of our client was confronted with challenges in connection with increasingly complex production and supply chains. In order to improve the efficiency of the supply chain between international locations and thereby enable long-term company growth, the Chinese shareholder asked us to help them find a highly qualified Head of Global Integrated Supply Chain based in the DACH region.

Client Challenge

For this management position, the Chinese shareholder was specifically looking for a supply chain expert with an exceptional analytical mindset, strong leadership skills and many years of professional experience in continuous improvement through systematic Lean Six Sigma methods across Asia, EMEA and ideally also the Americas.

In addition, the supply chain leader had to be confident operating in diverse cultures and have strong intercultural communication abilities.

Tailored Approach & Outcome

Our experienced Spencer Stuart consultants based in Germany and China supported the client throughout the entire executive search process. Thanks to our extensive global candidate pool and direct access to first-class senior executives, we secured a dynamic and highly qualified candidate for the client. His strengths were a perfect fit in production process optimization, global manufacturing operations and especially in international supply chain management.

Since taking up his new position, the new supply chain leader has initiated and implemented an extremely successful optimization process for the company.

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Success Story III

Professional expertise for the expansion of international reach: Spencer Stuart advises leading Chinese technology company in appointing EMEA Data Center Group Vice President

Initial Situation

Thanks to its organic growth and successful international acquisitions, our client – a renowned Chinese multinational technology company with a strong global presence – managed to expand its global business rapidly within a very short period.

With the company’s increasingly global approach, the former division head for its data center business in EMEA took on new responsibilities within the organization and our client tasked us with seeking a suitable successor for this important position. With responsibility for sales, services, marketing, and sales operations functions, the new executive was expected to represent one of the organization’s most senior customer-focused leaders. S/he needed to perform a pivotal role providing leadership, direction, and resource stewardship for the company to achieve its ambitious goals in the rapidly evolving data center market.

Client Challenge

For this challenging position, our client expected an entrepreneurial, growth- and profit-oriented leader who could communicate an innovative vision for the future regarding the company’s product and service portfolio and inspire the team to execute on the transformation. S/he would have the ability to leverage strategic and analytical capabilities to make swift decisions based on client and field input. The client confirmed with our project team that the company needed a senior leader who could also fit into the diverse global culture of the technology company.

Tailored Approach & Outcome

Our experienced, integrated consulting team based in several locations in Europe got to work on compiling a shortlist of seven highly qualified candidates from a variety of leading high-tech organizations worldwide to present to our client. We looked at candidates with a track record in general management and digital solutions who could demonstrate in-depth experience in sales and commercial enterprise solutions in a multinational environment.

Due to our broad, global pool of potential candidates, we were able to recommend a candidate with an ideal fit for the position: The final candidate had more than 25 years’ experience in global leadership roles. He had worked in renowned international high-tech organizations and had responsibility for global sales and marketing with revenues of $17 billion. Our consultants worked seamlessly with the top candidate and our client’s executive team, as well as fitting all the client’s needs and serving as an important mediator between all involved parties.

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Success Story IV

Digitalization and intercultural exchange: Spencer Stuart supports an Chinese-owned semiconductor manufacturer headquartered in Europe with appointing a Chief Information Officer and General Site Manager

Initial Situation

Our client was a global leader in the semiconductor industry, producing consistently reliable semiconductor components at high volume. Built on over half a century of expertise, the company has extensive production capabilities with more than 10,000 employees across Asia, Europe and the US supporting customers worldwide. A Chinese private TMT company is the current controlling shareholder of this European company.

As a result of the rapid growth of the organization, the company would appoint a new Chief Information Officer. Our Spencer Stuart team in Europe advised the client in this assignment.

Client Challenge

The client was looking for an accomplished information technology leader to provide direction for the creation and execution of the IT vision, strategy and operating plans in support of the company’s business strategy. S/he would provide both strategic and tactical leadership and direction for the existing IT team and would drive innovation to enhance the company’s position and competitive advantage in the market.

This company was carved out of the former organization and acquired by a Chinese private TMT company more than two years previously. In order to build up a solid and strong IT department, the candidate needed to upgrade the IT organization quickly. A specific area of development lay in creating more focus on IT knowledge and business savviness. Another key requirement was that the candidate needed to navigate wisely across the organization, and instead of taking a ‘big bang’ approach rather focus on creating quick yet valuable wins and spreading them company-wide.

Tailored Approach & Outcome

Our integrated global team of experienced consultants completed this assignment successfully within six months. After clarifying the special requirements of the European and Chinese senior management teams, we conducted a rigorous search and presented a pool of highly qualified and experienced candidates from leading, international TMT organizations and electronic devices manufacturers.

Our successful placement as CIO has since been recognized as one of the drivers of change, both in terms of strategy and implementation. The CIO had gained a lot of international experience working for large, complex, matrixed technology organizations. Centralization and harmonization had been key aspects of the CIO’s responsibilities in the previous 15 years. During the meetings with our client, the CIO showed himself to be a very innovative professional with in-depth technical insights combined with strong communication skills.

We have been advising this client on executive searches and further leadership consulting for many years. Our client was pleased to appoint our candidate as Chief Information Officer with global leadership responsibility and appreciated our consultative approach. During this CIO assignment, the Spencer Stuart team also advised the company to appoint a new site general manager for one of its European subsidiaries.

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