Blackwood Group
The search for excellence through excellence


VP Eastern Business Unit, International Rental Business

Blackwood’s client is a global leader in the rental of portable power generation equipment, offering power generators and temperature control equipment to the public sector and customers in the utilities, manufacturing and construction industry. It has 100 locations in 29 countries offering 24/7 services and has had a rapid growth trajectory over the last 4 years. Blackwood had recently augmented the Main Board of the business with two regional Managing Directors and was subsequently asked by the CEO to find a Vice President to run one half of the US business, based in New Jersey, because two US search firms had failed in the assignment.


Blackwood worked closely with the CEO, Managing Director North America and HR Director to clearly define the criteria for this appointment. The individual would need to take responsibility for the P&L and direct team in their area, whilst also having the strategic mindset to work closely with the other US VP and MD North America to define direction for the American business overall. They needed a strong sales and marketing skillset, leading business growth, balanced with an ability to drive operational efficiency. Most crucially they needed to have the clear potential to step up to the MD North America role in a relatively short time frame. To find a US national with experience of working in an international business, interacting with colleagues across many cultures, was imperative.

Search Process

The pool of companies within the US rental market was reasonably limited, particularly when taking into account international presence. Thus the search was largely focused on a broader range of industrial service companies where they had a multi-site business model and similar sales process to the end-customer. Given it was a US-centric search, for a US national and focused on the US market it was a reasonably new candidate pool for us. We successfully mapped this market, with extensive pre-referencing, in three weeks and followed this with a two week trip to the US to interview candidates largely along the Eastern Seaboard.


Blackwood appointed a former VP South East Region from a leading international rental operator with prior international experience. Shortlisted candidates came from a range of industrial services businesses. The successful candidate was strongly ambitious and something of an ‘overhire’ having run a much larger P&L so Blackwood worked closely with the Group CEO to deliver the right messages and package to attract him. He has subsequently gone on to become MD North America and thus a FTSE 100 Director. Blackwood completed the search in 10 weeks with full referencing throughout the process.

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