Chief Operating Officer & Leadership Development Programme
Denchi Group is a leading designer and manufacturer of advanced state batteries and chargers, predominantly to the global defence industry. Other markets for the company include industrial, oil and gas and clean energy, where the capability to produce highly reliable and robust products, designed to stringent specifications is also critically important.
With a heritage which spans over 30 years, the company has a standard product range but focuses on designing products for specific applications. Situated in Thurso, Northern Scotland, Denchi has built solid foundations, with a reputable brand and key customers which include BAE Systems and General Dynamics. The business now required an injection of worldclass operational leadership to launch the next phase of growth.
Intramezzo first worked with Denchi in 2014, when we were appointed to find an Interim Chief Engineer to lead the successful delivery of projects and the implementation of engineering best practice for design and resourcing processes. Extensive experience in the design of electronic products for the key industries addressed by Denchi was required. From the short-list of three candidates, Simon Marker was selected and, due to his performance in the role, was subsequently given a permanent position. He remains one of the key members of the senior team.
As a result, we were tasked with identifying and securing a COO to focus on the current operating model and customer requirements.
Additionally, there was strategic need to scale the business over the coming 5 years to enable harmonisation with the Chairman’s other engineering and electronics business in Cambridge.
“I met with Dermot [Hill] to have in-depth business conversations to understand the kind and level of senior leadership required to drive the business to next levels” states Nick. “There was plenty of consulting with Dermot to achieve clarity around motivation and salary expectations and how this would work out for the new person living in Thurso.”
” Simon’s appointment has been critical and he has been instrumental in driving new revenues. Post Simon all worked out very well with lots of continuity communication from Intramezzo.”
Denchi’s Chairman, Nick Russel
A COO with a track record in operational leadership and building process manufacturing and technology intensive companies into larger, growth businesses was sought. This individual needed to be a ‘game changer’, someone with the ability to challenge Denchi’s status quo – its steady state performance and culture.
The ideal candidate would come from the battery manufacturing sector, although Nick expressed concern over the likelihood of finding someone with sufficient ‘post conventional’ leadership capability from within an industry dominated by large global players.
As with the Interim Chief Engineer role, Nick defined this as a challenging search, given that it would involve finding a candidate with the right set of skills and experience who was willing to relocate, possibly with a family, to a remote area of Scotland.
But, for the right candidate, this would be a career enhancing role, with the opportunity to progress to CEO. The board additionally requested the Intramezzo services of Leadership Assessment and Coaching to successfully onboard the COO and rapidly optimise the performance of the management team around this new appointment.