Private Equity

ICG, the leading international Private Equity firm, recruits a COO 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 senior leader with broad supply chain and change management expertise. This Chief Operating Officer role was new to the business, with a unique remit to drive change within their own function and across the wider business. The individual would also need to offer the calibre and ambition to be, in time, the successor to the CEO.

Drayton Partners Approach

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 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 candidate quickly asserted himself in the role and made an immediate impact on operational performance and also wider business initiatives. Indeed, he was promoted to CEO within his first 12 months and is now leading the business through an exciting transformational change program.