September 2018

Chief Operating Officer for high growth, premium food brand

You will be a qualified finance specialist with an ambition to lead beyond your specific area of functional expertise. This is a highly entrepreneurial business, a hybrid hospitality operator but also a branded food producer, that has grown at a phenomenal pace and has inherent complexity that needs nurturing and recognising. The founder is seeking to secure a first class finance leader to also take responsibility for the broader running of the operation.

  • Package: A stretching package, including an opportunity to take a credible equity stake.
  • Location: London

Role headlines:

As is typical with many adolescent, high growth businesses, the CEO/founder plays a critical role in developing sales and is very customer focused. This absorbs crucial time to steward the broader business. In essence, he is stretched very thinly across a surprisingly complex business. This role will have responsibility for leading the finance function but also all of the back office operations, customer onboarding and wider systems. You will be the right hand person of the CEO, including supporting and enhancing the organisation's proposition as they navigate through a critical funding cycle. Furthermore, the role carries the responsibility for providing challenge to the young senior management team, whilst also facilitating greater sophistication to their strategic planning and operational performance.

  • Being an active and well-rooted member of the Board, attending all formal meetings and ad-hoc requirements as required.
  • Ideally, being technically 'savvy' and have experience in system development. The business has a growing DTC proposition, which clearly needs strengthening and developing as the operation grows.
  • Take an active role in developing the strategic planning capability within the business, where appropriate offering targeted, light-touch coaching to the senior team and founder.
  • Be able to leverage the individual’s personal network to the net advantage of the business, including with key customers, markets and relevant agencies.
  • Be prepared to be a visible ambassador and representative within and without the business, including with such parties as future investors, debt-providers and strategically important customers and suppliers.
  • Creating a sense of pace and urgency at Board level but also proactively encourage, wherever feasible, this behaviour across the wider business.
  • As a key member of the Board, overseeing the implementation of the business’s wider strategic goals, achievement of the 3 year business plan and the delivery of EBITDA goals within it.
  • Keeping up to date with the very latest retail premium food trends in the UK and global markets, with a specific focus on those that could offer new routes to sales and margin growth for the business.

Candidates will need to offer:

  • Proven Finance leadership experience from within a known and credible UK Food context. It is possible that the individual may have spent part of their career in an adjacent sector, such as Retailing or FMCG. It is also possible that the person has spent a significant part of their finance career within the professional services world with a big 4 type player.
  • Highly credible understanding of the growth opportunities and challenges for a premium or luxury branded food business.
  • A successful track record in bringing a step-change in business performance.
  • A demonstrable, highly credible personal knowledge of the UK and international premium food environment, including ideally a current network with the senior influencers from that arena.
  • It is essential that the person also has experience of building, or at the very least been adjacent to the building, of a sustainable international proposition.
  • You will need to possess relevant accounting qualifications, ideally CIMA.