Chief Operating Officer for a family-owned packaged goods manufacturer


Consumer Goods/CEO


Our client – a very successful, medium-sized consumer good manufacturer – needed to bring on-board a senior executive to manage its increasingly sophisticated day to day operations.

The company boasted a 40 year-old tradition, was family-owned and in the midst of transitioning to a second generation of family leaders. The environment was dynamic, the relationships were complex and this marked the first occasion that a senior professional manager would be brought onto the executive team.


Consultants from our consumer goods practice, in conjunction with our family- business specialists conducted interviews with each of the family members involved in the organization. Subsequently, non-family executives were also interviewed with a view to gaining a richer understanding of the company’s culture, decision-making style and dynamics.

A discussion ensued on the key issues, challenges and opportunities for the successful candidate. As well, the experience, track record and profile of the candidate most likely to thrive were tabled for discussion. A profile including requisite competencies was subsequently produced for approval by the company.

StoneWood consultants then canvassed the market for proven operations executives in the consumer-goods sector, paying particular attention to candidates who had worked for, and thrived in, family or owner-operated businesses. Interviews focused not only on operational experience but the style, attitude and personality dimensions most important to integrate with the leadership team.

A total of 18 executives fitting those criteria were found, interviewed and evaluated. A short-list of five executives was presented, each with the operational credentials, problem solving skills, cultural attributes and experience in related family- businesses needed by the client.


The ensuing interview process was designed to ensure that each candidate had full visibility into each of the key stakeholders and that the relevant issues were tabled. One candidate particularly impressed the owners with both his sector experience and understanding of how to transition firms such as theirs. After careful due diligence by all the stakeholders the executive was hired to very positive effect.