Vice Managing Director & Marketing Director, EMEA

Kincannon & Reed has been retained to recruit an experienced Vice MD & Marketing Director, EMEA to lead the global Management & Marketing function for an international leader in the Agri-food sector, specialized in plant research, nurseries, and fresh products. We seek a dynamic and experienced management & marketing executive from the Agri-food sector (Produce, Horticulture, Seeds, Agrochemicals…) with a proven track record of success leading business & marketing strategy development and driving growth across diverse geographies. 

The Company

The Company is a global operator in the agri-food sector, specializing in plant research, nursery, and fresh produce. Headquartered in Spain, they are one of the leading plant variety and nursery operators within the berry category worldwide..

The Group provides seeds, plants, and R&D services to farmers for fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries as well as garlic, endives, and asparagus, and offers fresh produce to retailers across the world. With 3,500 employees worldwide, they supply customers globally from its 20 production facilities across 12 countries in Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

Since 2008, they have worked to increase investment in R&D to develop new and/or improved product offerings to drive growth. In parallel, a series of operational initiatives have been undertaken to position the business for future growth. Several acquisition opportunities have also been explored globally.

The Company has destined a major part of its R&D resources to develop new varieties using selection breeding. It has four research centers all around the world (Spain, France, US, Mexico), and development centers in different climatic areas to observe and test new varieties.

This position is newly created as part of the Company’s growth and internationalization strategy.

The Position

The Vice MD & Marketing Director will support the Managing Director, EMEA in developing and implementing the management & marketing strategy to position the company for long-term success in the global markets it serves. He or she will build and maintain strong customer relationships and grow the Company brand across the region. The regional organization for EMEA, includes Spain, France, Italy, Romania, Poland, and Morocco, with a turnover of €110 million, consisting of 7 farms and 350 fixed employees.

Together with the MD, the role will be responsible for the profit and loss account, income/sales, investments, contribution margin, and cash flow for the region. It will be mainly oriented towards increasing the company’s efficiency, and therefore the role should attain maximum integration of the company’s entire value chain. This integration should range across coordination for the agricultural/operations/production activity, with the commercial/sales/clients’ scope, increasing the integration with the functional support areas (financial and human resources) in the region and for the company overall (quality, R&D).

They are looking for an experienced commercial leader with a global vision, and strongly involved in the company and in its day-to-day operations.

The candidate must have a high leadership capacity to bring the team together and generate enthusiasm and demonstrate commercial and market vision for increasing the company’s client-based orientation, yet also ensuring the company’s profitability.

Likewise, it is essential that the selected person knows how to listen to the company’s current management team, gain their trust and identify himself/herself with the company’s challenges.

Specific responsibilities include Strategic & Operational Functions & responsibilities: 

  • Jointly participate with the MD and the CEO in the study and review of key operational/agricultural indicators, financial ratios, developing and tracking indicators that are considered critical and strategic for the EMEA region.
  • Design and monitor the coordination of the R&D/Operations/Commercial Plan, seeking maximum efficiency and financial effectiveness.
  • Propose and develop a solid business & marketing plan for the region to achieve significant growth in sales and global positioning in the next 3-5 years.
  • Create go to market plans that include all aspects leading to successful product launches, including identifying and tracking key milestones and performance indicators, while leading implementation.
  • Join the management team with solid leadership. Lead, inspire, coach, mentor the team.
  • Build strong relationships with other parts of the organization, such as R&D, Technical Product Development, and Operations.
  • Develop a Business and Marketing vision for the Company in close collaboration with the MD EMEA and the CEO.
  • Identify and develop new business opportunities, primarily with new clients previously identified as strategic.
  • Establish professional contacts with key players in defined clients, with an appropriate level of dialogue to achieve the recognition of the Company as a benchmark provider.
  • Ensure client satisfaction and service in the agreed terms and conditions. Maintain and improve already established culture and standards for quality.
  • Propose a means for improving processes, knowledge management, and management control systems according to this Business Plan.

Candidate Profile

The Vice MD & Marketing Director, EMEA will have gained experience in plant breeding, nursery, fresh produce, agri-food companies, or related sectors. He or she will lead the Business & Commercial marketing activities and team and have frequent interactions with local institutions, suppliers, customers, visitors, and guests of the Company.

Experience:

  • At least 15 years of experience in sectors with business processes similar to the Company, and/or in the agribusiness field, including a considerably high relationship with agricultural production, strong R&D component as well as national and international business development.
  • A minimum of 5 years in an international leadership position.
  • Experience of leading business development, sales, accustomed to negotiating with clients, clear orientation to financial results, and with direct responsibility for the income statement and management of the executive committee.
  • Ability to understand the technical aspects of growing (fertility, nutrition, disease control). Direct experience with farming produce or nursery is preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience with planning, budgeting, forecasting, and financial analysis.
  • Proven experience in developing and maintaining relationships with key clients.
  • Solid knowledge of performance reporting and financial/budgeting processes.
  • Accustomed to a competitive, multicultural, and international environment.Must be viewed by clients and the market as a solid professional.
  • Management experience at a family-owned company currently or at some time in the candidate’s career to be a plus.

Personal Characteristics and Personal Skills:

  • Professional, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • Collaborative, team-oriented, and can build effective working relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Strength of character, intellect, and the ability to influence others and convert ideas into reality.
  • An entrepreneurial mindset and the capability to “think outside the box”.
  • Confident self-starter who is passionate and driven with high energy levels and is not afraid to roll her/his sleeves up to get things done.
  • Strong international outlook and willing to travel wherever and whenever necessary to develop global opportunities. Culturally aware and able to adapt her/his style to fit the local situation.
  • Demonstrated track record of teamwork in a multicultural environment.
  • Good judgment and the ability to positively influence team decision making.
  • Demonstrated collaboration, problem-solving, and negotiation skills.
  • Commercial awareness partnered with a strategic mindset.
  • Excellent negotiation and communication skills with a strong entrepreneurial mindset that translates into creative deal-making and achievement of long-term commercial relationships and outcomes.
  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal abilities.

Location & Travel:

This job will be located at the headquarters in Spain, with trips to subsidiaries, vendors and/or clients in Spain and abroad whenever necessary. It is expected that travels will be 50% of the time.

Hierarchy:

The candidate will report to the MD and the CEO. The EMEA management committee comprises the regional operations management, product manager(s), and the director of fruit sales and business development in Northern Europe.

Other Criteria:

  • Nationality: European citizens speaking Spanish
  • Languages: The candidate must be capable of fluid communication in Spanish and English. Other EU languages such as French or Dutch will also be appreciated.
  • Bachelor’s degree in agricultural business, management, international business, or related fields from a renowned academic institution. A Master’s degree in Business Administration or related field is preferred.

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