Private Equity

ICG, the leading international Private Equity firm, recruits a CEO, CCO and CFO for Symingtons through Drayton.

“ICG have worked with Drayton on a number of successful search projects. We needed a specialist and they were recommended by one of our close corporate finance contacts. Drayton’s real strength is their immersion in the Consumer sector, which they leverage to great effect.” Gareth Knight, Managing Director, ICG

The Symingtons story is hugely exciting, one that combines a long and deep brand heritage with, latterly, truly market-leading growth. The more recent success has been delivered via a deep focus on the Customer and Consumer, combining an aggressive innovation-led agenda, with great customer service.

The Brief

Symingtons achieved exceptional levels of growth for more than a decade. However, this growth came at the price of operational efficiency across their complex, multi-site footprint. When business performance started to slip below their ambitious expectations, predominantly due to market factors, the investors agreed that the structural operating model needed to change.

Drayton were tasked with finding a CEO with broad supply chain and change management expertise. This Chief Executive would have a unique remit to drive significant change within Symingtons, including the subsequent appointment of two business-critical, newly created roles of Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Financial Officer.

Drayton Partners Approach

The first stage, primary focus was the appointment of a CEO. Once this individual was secured and established within the business the recruitment of the two subsequent individuals would come to the fore.

The Drayton team requested a thorough induction to the business, including visiting each of the manufacturing sites and meeting the management stakeholders. ICG invested time to outline their longer-term vision for the business and their own aspirations for the ideal CEO candidate. Based on the comprehensive brief, Drayton were able to immediately share the most relevant target businesses in the Food sector and begin approaching the strongest individuals. The investors and main board were kept informed of progress through a formal weekly update. Ultimately, the shortlist consisted of five highly credible candidates for the investors to meet, including one based internationally. Three individuals were brought in to the final stage assessment, with one candidate standing out. The successful person offered an outstanding background from various businesses within the ABF group. As a bonus, he was able to start within 8 weeks.

In time, the focus then shifted to the evolution of the senior management team and the appointment of a CCO and, a short period later, a CFO. Drayton adopted the same approach for these two projects and ultimately secured two market-leading candidates.


The CEO quickly asserted himself in to the role and business, making an immediate impact on operational performance and also wider organisational transformation. He has created a tight and high-performing senior team with an ambition to make Symingtons as successful as it can be. Its performance has accelerated and is exceeding the expectations of the investors.