Why do companies turn to executive search consultants for their senior executive needs?

Companies have a lot at stake when it comes to filling vacancies in senior functional roles, and there can be extreme pressure placed on other senior personnel. Making a mistake can have serious long term consequences for the company as a whole, and the decision maker in particular. When there is a vacuum in the leadership structure, it generates a lot of anxiety; hence there is a tendency for all parties involved to be in a rush to finish the job. However things can go wrong when hasty decisions are made. The higher the stakes, the more our independent expertise is needed. And yes, indeed, they have to put a lot of faith in us. But let's face it; if these placements were easy, companies would do it themselves.

What is the profile of a typical BVM client?

A BVM client is typically a regional entity experiencing a growth phase, either organically or through acquisition. They are highly specialized and recognized for it within and outside of their industry. They are large Multi National Corporations operating primarily in the Industrial Manufacturing, Consumer Manufacturing, and Financial sectors. We have long standing relationships with many of our clients, and they continue to consult us for their senior executive requirements at various stages of their life cycle.

We also service an increasing number of emerging companies and large family-run businesses that previously have had neither the size nor the culture to use executive search services. Those have come to understand and appreciate the value in our services and the immense help we offer.

How are you involved in a company's life cycle?

We are providing solutions for companies at different stages of development; expanding, contracting, and static. Each stage presents different problems and challenges. They are confronted with a business environment that presents serious challenges as few companies operate on a 10-year plan anymore. It's more like a rolling 5-year plan.

So we read between the lines, always keep a finger on market forecasts, and make sure that our recommendation compliments a flexible plan.

Why does a company's planning matter, as long as you place the candidate?

To our clients, BVM is much more than just a vendor, though we do not pretend to be their business partner. As an independent consultant it's in our best interest for our clients to do well, we want their repeat business! We take a cooperative approach and work with clients to advise on solutions to problems. So we always look at the big picture, and may go so far as to redefine the job description, or to suggest a corporate restructure. Altogether we can be as involved as a client may want us to be.

 

What is unique about placing top executives in Asia?

In terms of corporate culture, many organisations in Asia Pacific are less homogeneous than their Western counterparts. Employees, executives, clients and partners come from all kinds of different backgrounds, and function in widely varying cultural socio-political environments across the region. Candidates who can truly understand, and ultimately deal efficiently with those differences, are rare game.

Also, in China today there is still a lack of dual experience, and cross-cultural executives are in very high demand. Having the right management in China these days is vital if a company is to stay competitive globally.

With the world focused on China, what do you foresee for Chinese companies and their executive search needs?

China already represents a considerable market for executive search, as it is for all else, and is bound to reach stellar proportions. Personally, I see the direction of expansion changing. Currently global companies are rushing into China; but the next big boom will be Chinese companies expanding outwards throughout Asia and the world, and quality people will be needed to lead that charge.

What is a successful placement?

In our evaluation, we look at what kind of impact they've had on the company, have they climbed the ladder, been rewarded internally for performance, and have they increased their responsibilities over and above the original position that BVM placed. A successful placement meets or exceeds the already high expectations of our clients.

It takes no less than 3-5 years before we can really measure the success of a placement and pat ourselves on the back.

In years past I have placed function heads, country heads, CEO's and board members in consumer, manufacturing and financial services. Those placements are still there, and they and the companies are thriving. Those are successful placements.