SPAR is the world’s largest food retail chain, 12,322 stores in 34 countries and in the UK alone, over 2,400 stores, 50,000 friendly staff and a turnover of £3bn+.
In 2011 we appointed Debbie Robinson into the role of Managing Director Spar UK. If ever there was the need to offer an example with tangible evidence of a great hire this is one of them. Over eight years later the Spar UK shareholders asked us to conduct a search for her replacement.
Five individual wholesale / distributor organisations make up the UK shareholding so five individual representatives were involved in the assessment of this business critical hire, recruiting together for the first time.
With five separate briefings there was the inevitable slight variances in what they were looking for. With sector, function and diversity all being key elements in the a la carte requirement list, the shortlist of candidates was inevitably compiled of a mixture of skill sets and experiences.
Our skill in the first instance is to position the role and organisation in a compelling way thereby engaging potential candidates. Although this is a retail organisation and should therefore appeal to retailers, the complex structure and role profile is quite unique so it wasn’t straightforward. By the time we were ready to start interviewing, we had no shortage of interested candidates.
Successful execution of an assignment is always in the planning and with five stakeholders, calendar management and a previously thought through plan of how the process would play out was imperative. We worked closely throughout the process with all stakeholders and importantly at the final offer stage with the Chair offering advice and counsel wherever and whenever it was required.
All shortlisted candidates were put through a rigorous 3-stage assessment process which involved presenting and being interviewed by all five shareholder representatives. We worked to ensure there was a real choice of candidates throughout and right up to the final stage of the process.
The successful candidate, Louise Hoste, has a great blend of trading, marketing and international experiences in major supermarket, convenience retail and food service sectors.