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Ford & Stanley Executive

Opportunity Brief: Head of Sales – UK

Ford & Stanley Executive Search (Part of the Ford & Stanley Group) are specialists in Executive Interim and Permanent appointments to the UK & North American Rail, General Manufacturing, Envirotech & Digital Industries.

We have been exclusively entrusted and appointed by CAF Rolling Stock UK Ltd on a retained search, for a Head of Business Development (Titled Business Development Manager).

Below you will find an ‘Opportunity Brief’ developed from notes taken during the scoping meeting (Situational Discovery) held between the F&S Search Director & CAF UK Sales Director and HRD UK. This brief is designed to give candidates a deeper insight into the opportunity inherent within the role, the challenges the role presents and provide access to the detail that sits behind the job specification.

Client Opportunity Statement:

Challenges expected within the first 6-12 months include:

  1. Taking over the pipeline from the previous BDM and seeing through those mid tender opportunities to successful conclusion.
  1. Winning work / opportunities / ITT’s / Opportunities to bid for high value low volume new build contracts, which can be a lengthy process that requires patience.
  1. UK is viewed by the ownership group as a key market, it’s a high-profile operation which brings with it both opportunity but also pressure and challenges.


Client Overview:

CAF is a world class leader in the international market for the design, manufacture, maintenance and supply of equipment and components for railway systems with over 8,000 employees worldwide.

They have been involved in UK based rail projects since 2004 and have grown substantially in recent years with numerous contract wins, including TransPennine Express, Wales & Borders, London Docklands, Caledonian Sleepers, West Midlands Trains, and Northern Rail, to name a few.

In the UK, CAF consists of two business areas – CAF Rolling Stock and CAF Rail Services.

CAF Rolling Stock are responsible for the Build, Test and Commissioning of new trains into the UK market. Over the last four years, they have built, set up and staffed a fully functioning factory in Newport.

CAF Rail Services are responsible for the warranty and maintenance activities on Rolling Stock for all UK based projects.

New purpose-built facility in South Wales: –

Candidate Essentials:


Hard Skills


Essential: Experience / Track Record of sales and securing opportunities within the UK Rolling Stock Arena (Be it OEM, Consultancy, Supply Chain, Overhauller, ROSCO).

Essential: Black Book / existing Network of contacts within the UK Rail industry.

Essential: Strong bid / RFI / ITT experience and managing the full bid lifecycle process (Complex bids).

Essential: Experience of securing high value contracts with lengthy tendering and courting processes.

Essential: Proven background in a Sales Management, Head of Sales capacity within the UK Rail Industry.

Desirable: Language Skills (Ideally Spanish) or desire to learn.  


Soft Skills


Ability to work with a high degree of autonomy and self-motivation.

Strong communicator / collaborator.

Ability to communicate at all levels.

Customer / Client Relationship Driven, persuasive, charismatic.

There are no line management responsibilities with this role – therefore management experience not essential, however good leadership skills and experience are.


Good to know…

  1. Current sales team is a team of 4. BD Director and 3 BDM’s (of which this role is one of the 3).
  2. Whilst the role is a ‘Head of Sales’ level – the title is recognised internally across Europe as a ‘Business Development Manager’ and although the right candidate is likely to be a ‘Head of Sales’ or a ‘Sales Director’ in their own right, they would need to be comfortable with the title of BDM.
  3. CAF Rolling Stock (UK) Turnover £81.8m, CAF Rail Services (UK) Turnover £38.8m – this role encompasses both organisations. (CAF UK Group).
  4. The role will inherit existing relationships / accounts to nurture, develop and will include those mid tender process. In addition, the role will require new sales activities to identify and secure opportunities of new fleet build contracts.
  5. The opportunity has arisen due to a leaver within the team.
  6. The role reports into the Business Development Director. This role will provide the opportunity to influence the group sales strategy.
  7. The current team is established, very well networked, tightknit and trusted.
  8. The role has no direct reports and offers full freedom and autonomy to focus on and deliver own objectives.
  9. The role is not to be advertised or dual branded. It is to be taken to market quietly and strategically by F&S Executive Search.
  10. The role is very hands on, SME environment with limited access to wider resources – the successful candidate will be used to undertaking a very ‘360’ role.
  11. Contracts being secured currently are nothing less than £50m with a heavy focus on new build contracts from TOC’s, ROSCO. 


  • Salary Brackets – Low £80k/ Mid £90k / Top end £100k for exceptional candidates.
  • No Car Allowance – There is no Car, Car Allowance or Bonus with the position, hence the salary on offer. Unusual to not have a car or bonus associated with a Sales role however, the UK business must hold parity with Spain both in terms of package and titles of positions.
  • No Bonus
  • Pension
  • Life Assurance
  • Private Healthcare
  • 25 days Holiday + 8 Statutory
  • Sick Pay (attractive)
  • Annual & Ad hoc Salary Reviews


Likely Job Titles:

Likely current job titles of candidates: Sales Director, Head of Sales, Account Manager, BDM, Sales Manager, Business Development Director, Head of Business Development, UK Sales Manager.


Working Arrangements & Location:

Commutable to West Midlands / Midlands (Cov) at least 2 days a week would be the expectation. There is also the business need to attend the sales strategy meeting in Spain once a month Monday to Weds. As expected with the nature of this role, there is a lot of UK wide travel meeting clients / customers, trade shows and events.


The interview Process:

  • The first stage will ideally be face to face on site in Coventry (4 candidates) This is likely to be more informal, and discussion-based with questions posed around the key essentials of the role highlighted above. Site tour included with the interviewing panel (Sales Director & Head of HR) to sell the opportunity in the role, challenges it presents, the vision and culture.
  • The final stage face to face onsite again in Coventry (2 candidates). A presentation will likely be required.
  • There will be a psychometric assessment between the first and second stage interview to be issued by F&S Executive Search (Thomas International).
  • There may be a 3rd ‘Rubber Stamping’ virtual ‘meet and greet’ with some of the other Spanish stakeholders prior to the formalisation of the offer.


Executive Search Delivery Team:

  • Cat Lane – Executive Assistant
  • Tom Norton – Business Manager
  • Dan Taylor – Search Director


About Ford & Stanley Executive Search:

At Ford & Stanley Executive Search we go beyond a recruiting transaction with our core mission being that of every interaction we have with clients and candidates is best in class. We are select in the opportunities we represent, as such, work under strict exclusivity or retained agreements with forward thinking and proactive global Rail companies that place their trust in our ability to deliver a winning shortlist at the first time of asking.

Our Search Directors (who are themselves members of the F&S Group Board) and in house research team invest time at the front end of process with our client’s leadership team or stakeholders to consult, understand the opportunity inherent within the role, business need, map and agree timescales with supporting delivery plan well in advance of conducting the search.

All candidates both active and passive (head-hunted) can expect full and professional engagement from the Executive Search team in addition a timely, thorough and engaging recruitment process from a committed employer that seeks to secure ‘cream of the crop’ from a busy and noisy Global Rail candidate market.

Ford & Stanley Group Ltd is committed to a policy of equal opportunities for all opportunity seekers and approach all opportunity with a mindset of who is right for the job irrespective sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, age, disability, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief or political beliefs and we place an obligation upon all staff to respect and act in accordance with the policy. We shall adhere to such a policy at all times and will review on an on-going basis all aspects of recruitment to avoid unlawful or undesirable discrimination.

    • Job type: Permanent
    • Location: Coventry
    • Date posted:
    • Salary:£80000 - £100000