Back to all jobs
Executive Ford & Stanley logo

Ford & Stanley Executive

Managing Director

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

We have been exclusively entrusted and appointed on a retained search for a Managing Director that will be pivotal in ensuring the continued growth and evolution of the business.

Below you will find an ‘opportunity brief’ developed from notes taken during the scoping meeting (Situational Discovery) held between the Director of Ford and Stanley Executive Search, Business Manager of F&S Executive Search, Group Human Resources Director and Group Managing Director. 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:

“We are a niche, rapidly growing engineering solutions business. Paramount to the continued growth and development of the business is the hiring of a charismatic and inspirational Managing Director. Someone who will be able to set clear strategy and direction for the business, motivate the teams and drive growth.”

“This role will require a keen focus on the capability of the teams within the business. We need a renewed focus on how we as a senior leadership team lead and motivate our people alongside careful consideration around the organisational structure that we implement. Ensuring we get the best out of all individuals within the business and provide us the best opportunity to ensure this business maximises it’s potential!”

“Ultimately, we are looking for a hands-on Managing Director who wants to ‘get into the thick of it’, develop a thorough understanding of the business, it’s people and services. You will use this knowledge in tandem with a winning strategy to drive increases to financial performance.”

The Opportunity

Main challenges that will be encountered in the 1st year:

  • Balancing the Engineering, Sales and Commercial, BD activities and ensuring positive communication and collaboration between functions.
  • Lifting the teams with a vision, mission strategy with positive energy and spirit which has gone a bit stale under current leadership.
  • The current organisational structure in place does not get ‘the most’ out of the people within it. It’s expected it will need a re – org to set a structure for success and growth.

Top deliverables in the 1st year:

  • Successfully achieve this years corporate plan (Which has been set conservatively) and work on developing a strategic corporate plan for the following year. 
  • Develop an organisational structure that sets the business up for growth.
  • Utilising the improved strategy, demonstrate improved financial performance.

Agreed Hard Skills for candidates to secure an interview:

  • A proven track record in a technology, engineering or manufacturing business. Open minded as to the background
  • A ‘commercial bias’, someone with a strong background in commercial, sales and ultimately – business growth.
  • Exposure to small, niche businesses where being ‘hands on’ is of paramount importance.
  • A strong decision maker and communicator, capable of setting strategy and direction and seeing it through to operational delivery
  • A proven and capable leader, able to motivate, inspire and lead a team of capable people.
  • Based within 1 hours commute of Sheffield  

Agreed Soft Skills for candidates to secure an interview:

  • An individual capable of being ‘externally facing’, complete with charisma and ‘energy’.
  • Engaging and inspirational with their teams.
  • Confident articulate communicator able to manage up (into group, peer MD’s or board)
  • Entrepreneurial mindset and determined to succeed.


Good to know:

  • This is a full, confidential search that has arisen as a result of the need to improve leadership performance within the business noting that the current incumbent has been supported for 15 months in post.
  • The role reports to Group MD with additional exposure to CEO and other Group Stakeholders / Peer Subsidiary MDs
  • The headcount of the business is currently circa 30 with the potential to grow to 50 should the business hit it’s growth potential.
  • The business fluctuates between £3m – £5m turnover with a peak of £5.7m and a target of £10m turnover within two years.
  • The incoming MD will be expected to be entrepreneurial & commercially focussed with an ability to set strong direction, drive growth and improve performance.
  • The role will be hands on and suit someone with a strong desire to ‘be in amongst it’.
  • Additionally, it will be expected that the incoming MD will be keen to build relationships with the wider group, manage perception and make a conscious effort to be ‘involved’.
  • It is important to note that Unipart have spent 15 months mentoring, supporting and working closely with the incumbent prior to the decision to make a change.
  • The Group MD held the role in an interim capacity prior to the arrival of the MD and achieved the businesses strongest financial performance (£5.7m).
  • The role currently has six direct reports (Group HR, Sales, Engineering, Projects, Operations, Office Support) although it is expected that the incoming MD will make strategic changes to the structure.   
  • The challenges with the leadership have revolved around lack of strategy, engagement in the business and direction. Ultimately, this has resulted in a decline in financial performance.
  • Additionally, it’s felt that the incumbent does not have a full and in depth understanding of either the business or it’s people.
  • The business is an engineering solutions business involved in low volume manufacture.
  • Plans for growth include a focus on repeat orders and ‘cradle to grave product lines’ (Jigs & Fixtures, digital products and smart bench) utilising the support from Unipart Group.
  • The business is an engineering consultancy that provides customised solutions to engineering problems. In addition, they have a range of standard products that solve certain common engineering challenges, which we can quickly adapt to your needs. These include ‘Smart Bench’, ‘Smart Gauge’, ‘Inert Gas Welding Shield’, ‘Jigs’ and ‘fixtures’.
  • In addition to the products listed above it’s also worth noting that the business offers a number of solutions surrounding rapid tooling development, digital manufacturing solutions and fully customised solutions.
  • It’s important to note that other group businesses operate in similar markets and will continue to increase it’s support and underpinning of the businesses sales.
  • It’s noted by the Group MD that this is an excellent time to join the business with the timing of the current corporate plan. The new MD will deliver the existing plan through its final 6 months (assuming a midyear start) with the expectation that a new 2025 plan will be designed and delivered by the new MD.
  • Autonomy, transparency and authenticity are all words used to describe the environment the new MD will enter with a focus on empowerment, mentorship and the successful delivery of results.
  • The business itself is ‘energetic’ and fortunate to have a passionate team that are invested in developing the future of the business.
  • The Group are having notable success with their new group collaboration strategy which will play a key factor in the business capitalising on its full potential.  
  • We are interested in reviewing profiles of those who are looking to take a ‘step up’ alongside those who have already held an MD post.
  • It would be beneficial for the incoming MD to have an understanding/experience with SME, niche, engineering/technology or manufacturing businesses.
  • It would be beneficial for this individual to have the capability to be an outward facing leader, speaking at conferences, events and group initiatives in addition to meeting clients, supporting the Sales activity.  
  • Ideally the successful candidate will be commutable to Sheffield and want to be a present leader however there is hybrid working arrangements in place of 3 in office 2 remote, client side or from home.

Budget & Benefits:

Low £100,000/ Mid £115,000/ Top end £125,000.

  • Annual Salary Reviews
  • Annual Car Allowance of £7,000
  • Private Healthcare for family
  • 4 x salary life insurance
  • Sick Pay
  • 25 days Holiday + 8 Statutory
  • 3% & 5% Pension contributions

Likely Job Titles:

Managing Director, Operations Director, Commercial Director, Group Managing Director, CEO, COO, General Manager, Site Director, Sales Director

Working Arrangements & Location:

The business is based in Sheffield and the business currently operates a hybrid 2 days remote 3 days in office. However, it is expected that the Managing Director will have a regular site presence to lead and manage the team.

The clients interview process:

  • 1st Stage interview to be held via teams with Group MD and GHRD
  • 2nd Stage interview will be on site with Group MD and GHRD
  • 3rd And final stage interview likely to be virtual with CEO.

F&S Executive Search – Delivery Team:

  • Daniel Taylor – Director of Executive Search (Client Recommendations/Advisory, Offer Negotiations, Headhunting, Networking)
  • Tom Norton – Business Manager (Client Recommendations/Advisory, Offer Negotiations, Headhunting, Networking, Research, Search, Longlisting, Interviews, Data & Market Intel)
  • Ralitsa Kuzeva – Executive Assistant (Diary Management, Coordination, Candidate Experience)


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 exclusive and retained search assignments with forward-thinking and proactive global 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 our 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 candidate market.

    • Location: Sheffield
    • Date posted:
    • Pay:£- £

    This opportunity is being managed by:

    consultant photo

    Tom Norton

    Business Manager