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Ford & Stanley Executive

Opportunity Brief: Principal Commercial Manager

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 Alan Dick Communications (ADComms) on a retained search for a Principal Commercial 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, Research Manager and The ADComms Leadership Team. This brief is designed to give candidates 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 at a stage where due to the current and future pipeline of work we need to ‘mature’ as a Commercial management function, we are taking work off the key players in the industry, but to continue on this journey we need to look at the way we are working and ensure we have best in practice processes, procedures and governance.

We need a candidate that will lead the Commercial management team by example and is happy to switch / flip from being strategic to rolling up their sleeves – certainly no ivory towers offered with this position”

The Opportunity

Who are ADComms?

  • ADComms delivers innovative technology solutions and services to owners and operators of the UK rail network.
  • With extensive experience in telecommunications and network markets, ADComms works with clients to develop intelligent connected solutions that solve operational challenges. We innovate, design, and build telecoms, network, energy and on-train technology solutions. Our maintenance and distribution capabilities support our solutions post-deployment, to ensure maximum reliability and extended operational life.
  • ADComms is a quality, safety, and environmentally focused business, which constantly drives through performance improvements to make the business stronger and smarter for the future.
  • Our Vision – Delivering innovative solutions to enable better journeys.
  • Our Mission – Building on our experience to become the leading provider of track-to-train communications solutions for the UK rail market.

Our Values

Our values were developed by utilising feedback from employee surveys and key working groups. These values embrace the best of what we are today and combine with what we want to be going forward as a thriving, sustainable organisation.

  • Demonstrating togetherness – In our business, we look after each other. This means engaging honestly with our colleagues, supporting each other when we need it, speaking with one voice to the outside world and working toward common goals.
  • Knowing what to do – We pride ourselves on the breadth and depth of the knowledge that we have in the business and being a dependable expert for our customers. To maintain and grow our expertise we actively focus on developing our people and managing competency across the team.
  • Doing the right thing – We always do the right thing in how we interact with our people, how we look after our planet, having strong, fair relationships with our customers and suppliers, and ensuring our solutions are delivered safely and remain safe in use.
  • Delivering on our commitments – When we agree to do something, that becomes our bond. We will always enter into commitments with our eyes open and commit honestly with the best of intentions. When things don’t go according to plan, we will be transparent and quickly deliver a resolution.
  • Promoting innovation – Standing still is not for us. But innovation doesn’t come on order. That’s why we must always create an environment which nurtures innovation across the business. This means making time and space for new ideas and accepting that everyone in our business is capable of great ideas and deserves to have their voice heard.
  • Making work enjoyable – We spend a lot of time working hard so let’s enjoy it. Be nice to your colleagues, have an appropriate joke at the right time, find the challenges which motivate you. Be visible and be friendly it will come back to you 10 fold.

Main Challenges the role presents:

  • Able to grow and develop a team to be highly efficient – Get the right people on board, in the right seats building a foundation of stability, capability and experience in which to drive the next phase of growth for the organisation.
  • Get the commercial basis in place: claims, project profitability, establish lines of communication with suppliers, on-time delivery, forecasts and plan vs actuals. This will allow for the candidate to focus on being more strategic. Need to be solution-focused and focus on what drives commercial value.
  • Maximise return, risk management, build a good relationship with suppliers and clients.

Candidate Essentials:

  • Experience managing multiple projects with a high degree of responsibility and managing relationships with multiple stakeholders, regardless of industry.
  • Experienced with the management of sub-contractors and interfacing with 3rd parties.
  • Strong NEC Contract Experience – able to give proven examples of managing these commercial projects.
  • Formal Qualification and/or membership in Commercial Management.
  • Team Management experience – able to grow and develop a high-performing team.
  • Excellent Communication skills – able to build relationships with Clients and stakeholders and open lines of communication.

Good to know:

  • Role reports to the Commercial Director and will have a team of 3-4 Senior Commercial Managers reporting into them – you will be able to shape the team to get the best results. Essentially this position is a ‘Head of’ but not titled as such due to the nature of how ‘hands on’ it is and the amount of operational involvement.
  • ADComms has a current pipeline of projects with a value of around £25-£30 million per annum, with £15 million being the DTUP project.
  • With a part-permanent, part-contractor commercial team, ADComms is looking to transition towards more permanent staff, in order to build a team with longevity and offer them development opportunities from within.
  • The team has a good culture, but improvements can be made to the speed of delivery, transparency, and flow of information. This individual will be looking to instil a sense of urgency and build an ethos of pride in the team.
  • Looking for someone to improve processes within the commercial function and have the Principal Commercial Manager act as a source of knowledge from the top down on commercial matters across the organisation.
  • An individual is required who understands risk, knows how to manage and mitigate it, and ensures there are no surprises.
  • Due to the nature of leadership required, a calm and level-headed approach will be needed, even in the face of significant problems. This is necessary to instil a sense of control over the processes, trust and security for the individuals reporting under them.
  • Part of the Mutares Group is formed of two main businesses: ADC and Gemini Rail Services
  • ADC have a strong pipeline of multi-million-pound projects with a 4–5-year order book.
  • The right candidate will be the type to not be fazed by the challenges of working within a fast-growing VC-owned SME. Change, turnaround, and transformation are key buzzwords for the type of character required.


  • Base Salary Banding: Low of £70k, Mid of £75k and top end of £80k
  • 25 days annual leave increasing to 27 after 4 years’ service
  • Birthday leave
  • Salary sacrifice pension 5% both ways
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Life Insurance x 4 salary
  • Critical illness cover
  • EAP
  • Westfield Cash plan

Likely Job Titles:

Head of Commercial, Commercial Manager, Senior Commercial manager

Executive Search Delivery Team:

  • Oliver Nunn – Research Manager (Market Intel, Client Advisory, Longlisting)
  • Ralitsa Kuzeva – Executive Research Assistant (Coordination & Diary Management)

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 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: Scunthorpe
    • Date posted:
    • Salary:£70000 - £80000

    This opportunity is being managed by:

    consultant photo

    Oliver Nunn

    Research Manager


    Telephone 01332851790