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Sensitive search for a new Country Manager USA

Country Manager USA


Business insights from our IESF partner in Israel

An Israeli global company which produces high quality products for the automotive and aviation industries, active in many countries, requested advice from IESF. Due to the sensitivity of the process, the client has asked to keep their name confidential in this article, but we would like to share the most important business insight with you. IESF partners from Israel and the USA worked together in searching the best suitable candidate for the position of Country Manager USA, to lead their division and biggest market in the USA. The main focus points for the newly appointed Country Manager USA were first of all to replace successfully a senior-highly experienced manager, who was a family member and led the company for many years. Secondly to lead a significant change in the company’s culture. Which should result in the improvement of the retention rates and an improved relationship with the company’s headquarter in Israel. IESF completed the search within 4 weeks What were the main objectives and which difficulties the consultants came across? IESF interviews the Israeli partner in charge: Dror Katabi, from Kishurim HR, IESF Israel.  

Family business challenges
‘Our IESF client is a family-owned company, established in the ’60s. They have a very high standard on quality. Both the headquarters as well as the factory are located in Israel. All businesses face challenges, whether it is dealing with the changing economy, finding and hiring the right employees, or increased competition in the market. Family-owned businesses are not immune to these challenges. In fact, there is also a unique set of challenges that family-owned businesses have to face as a result of the nature of their business structure. Our client faced some conflicts within the family, which have affected the business negatively, especially in their main market – the USA. This automotive and aviation manufacturing supplier contacted IESF to search for a new Country Manager USA. The main task was a change of management, the need to make a real change, both in the organizational structure and business approach. It is important to understand what these hurdles in a family-owned company are so that if you find yourself facing these issues, you can not only identify them, but you can proactively develop ways to overcome them. Our client looked for the right person to lead that change in the USA with a sensitive approach.’

Main objectives for the new leader
‘The assignment was clear but sensitive. The new Country Manager should successfully replace a senior-highly experienced manager, who was a family member and led the company for many years. It was also important to lead a significant change in the company’s culture and improve retention rates. Due to the problems the USA department faced before, it was also important to improve the relationship with the company’s headquarters in Israel and to recover relationships with existent clients and to regain their trust. As a great commercial Country Manager befits, the ideal candidate should of course also focus on developing new clients, to lead to a real growth in the market. And to also keep existing clients happy and increase their sales. These changes can only be made by a strong team. A team that the new manager has to build. We searched for a a real people manager, with strong commercial skills and experience in the automotive industry as well as the dynamics in family-owned businesses.

Global reach, local knowledge
‘IESF completed the search for potential candidates within 4 weeks. During the search, although we have focused on people with a strong professional background, the main focus was on their personality, as this was the most critical aspect to match in this family-owned company. The main benefit during this specific search, was the collaboration between the American partner – an automotive expert who led the search and the Israeli partner, who made the match between the client’s needs and the candidates. This collaboration led to a very successful result and finally we presented 5 suitable candidates to the client which were all highly qualified. The key success factor in this search was the deep understanding of the client’s culture, the client’s needs and above all, the sensitive situation within the family. The recruitment process in the USA went smoothly with bi-weekly updates between our offices about the planning. The steps that were taken are according to our IESF approach.’

Critical importance of collaboration
‘The chosen candidate brought vast experience in the Automotive industry, direct access to key clients and a very successful track record as a manager. However, he was the best choice, mainly due to his personality and the understanding that he will be able to lead such a change with all the sensitivity around it. The main insight I’d take from this search is the critical importance of the collaboration between us and our partner – which led to a great benefit to our client. I believe that such cooperation is essential in every search, and especially in such sensitive cases. The client was very happy with the results, and so far, the new manager is doing very well.’


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Dror Katabi

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