Case Study

SMA Japan

Focus Points

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Titan were referred by a long-standing partner in the Japanese PV industry to work with SMA Japan on a confidential search to find a replacement for their outgoing Managing Director.

SMA is a global market leader, with a strong product line-up and reputation for quality.  In the Japan market however, due to strong competition from Chinese players, the market had become highly price driven, and market share had been declining for a number of years.  At APAC level, strategic changes were made to focus on developing higher value markets, and the decision was made to hire a strong leader with turnaround and sales growth experience.

The mandate for this hire was a visionary leader, who could instill confidence into the team, lead by example, drive change within the organisation, as well as rebrand and reposition SMA in the Japanese market.  As the PV equipment OEM world is quite small, Titan and SMA discussed widening the candidate pool to other manufacturing markets such as power electronics and semiconductors, and focus more on leadership skills and track record of growing business aggressively, rather than specific renewables market knowledge and connections.

From the outset, SMA had a very clear idea of the role description, and together with Titan decided a long-list of target industries and prime target companies.  As we were targeting talent from adjacent industries, Titan created a 4 page slide deck to accompany the job description, which gave key facts, and competitive advantages of SMA in order to introduce the company and attract high level talent.

Due to need for confidentiality, Titan only focused on candidates who were either already at MD level, or one level below with strong leadership and P&L management experience, the shortlist was limited to 15 people.  From this list, 8 C.Vs were delivered within 2 weeks, and a series of interviews were held in both Sydney and Tokyo for a pool of 6 candidates.  3 of the pool continued through to final stage, however 1 in particular stood shoulders above the rest.  The successful candidate came highly recommended to Titan, had a track record of growing complex, multi-region businesses in highly competitive markets, and boasted impeccable references.

Throughout the process, a high level of trust was established on both sides, in part due to the fact that Titan was introduced to both the Client and Candidate via referral network.  This led to a very smooth package negotiation and offer acceptance process – with the initial offer accepted within 24 hours of delivery.

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