Warwick Audio Technologies Ltd


Interim Head of Business Development – Accelerate commercialization and increase global OEM engagement

“Intramezzo delivered an excellent candidate who has already proven his worth.”

Derek Mottershead, Chairman, Warwick Audio Technologies Ltd

Warwick Audio Technologies specialises in the development and manufacture of Flat Flexible Loudspeakers (FFL). The company, founded in 2003 has received £5.0m in investment from Finance Wales, Porton Capital, Mercia and Midven, as well as business angels.

Using new materials and the latest technology, the business has developed an FFL laminate, which is less than 1mm thick. The patented technology brings a host of benefits to audio products and has many diverse applications.

Prior to engaging Intramezzo, the business had received significant interest from consumer electronics and automotive OEM companies. However, they needed to accelerate commercialization in order to meet key commercial milestones.

In light of this, a need had been identified for an Interim Head of Business Development to increase engagement with OEM companies world- wide.

On the recommendation of one of their investors, Warwick Audio appointed Intramezzo to find an interim with a demonstrable track record of success in selling innovative, IP-rich electronic components to branded OEMs.

Bringing with them an established network of OEMS, the ideal candidate would have an international background and experience in negotiating at the highest level to secure sales and develop collaboration agreements.

Whilst the immediacy of the requirement demanded an interim, the potential existed for the appointed candidate to convert to permanent. As such, the challenge here was to identify and attract candidates who possessed both the experience and ability to make an instant impact, together with the ambition and character to offer a longer-term solution for the business. Ideally, this would be someone with Audio experience.

The challenge

Intramezzo knew from the outset that world-class, senior sales professionals working – or willing to work – in an interim capacity were a scarcity. This fact alone clearly indicated that the assignment would require a no-stone-unturned approach. The additional challenge of finding a candidate that would provide maximum commercial impact in the short term as well as offering a potentially permanent solution only strengthened the need for exhaustive tactics.

While the client was prepared to make compromises in order to get someone on board quickly, Intramezzo felt that by deploying its most thorough and far-reaching search methodologies, it would be possible to find candidates that met the brief, even within the demanding timescales of the assignment.

What we did

The first step was to work closely with the company to define the role and ideal candidate.

Once this brief had been developed and agreed, Intramezzo utilised its unique multi-channel search approach to reach beyond typical networks.

This involved a detailed investigation of the Audio, Consumer Electronics and Automotive markets in order to identify and approach high profile sales/business development people – including those that were currently in a permanent role.

In addition to this search activity, we worked within our own network – promoting and circulating the opportunity to generate referrals.

After sourcing, approaching and profiling almost 100 candidates, Intramezzo submitted a shortlist of three exceptionally strong options for the Interim Head of Business Development position, within a matter of days.

Given the potential for a permanent role, we spent time with each of the candidates to convey the long-term opportunities. As such, each had a welldeveloped interest in the role and a keen desire to play a part in the business’s growth trajectory.

The candidate

Following a rigorous interview process, Warwick Audio Technologies decided to appoint Martin Roberts.

Martin possessed a highly relevant background – with considerable experience in the audio technology market. He had spent 12 years working for NXT – an IP-rich company engaged in the development of flat panel loudspeaker technology. Here, Martin had been responsible for building JDAs, licensing and collaboration agreements with major OEM customers and was successful in breaking new audio technologies into the flat screen TV market as well as other markets that were new to NXT.

Whilst with NXT, Martin spent 2 years living and working in Asia followed by 3 years living in the US – (where he set-up an office in Silicon Valley) and was tasked with commercializing their technology in these regions, as well as building OEM relationships and developing new market opportunities.

We identified and approached Martin when he was working for SoundTech Group as VP of International Business Development. Despite not having acted in an interim capacity previously, Martin was excited by the assignment at Warwick Audio. His highly relevant experience meant he was ideally placed to “hit the ground running” yet he also had an appetite to prove himself and secure the role on a permanent basis.

Having previously worked within an entrepreneurial, high growth company, Martin perceived the Warwick Audio environment as both exciting and offering significant potential for growth. Given his understanding of the technology and the market, Martin had a clear sense of how his experience could add value to the business.

The outcome

Martin was only identifiable using our extensive search processes. He was viewed as being such a close fit that the Chairman and investors were keen to plan for him to convert to permanent, once key deliverables had been achieved.

Martin far exceeded these by opening up relationships with key OEMs, setting up and attending 20+ appointments in the first 6 weeks and, in some cases, follow up meetings across Asia, the US and Europe.

Based on this success, they invited him to come on board on a permanent basis. Since then, Martin has integrated well into the team and has gained excellent feedback from customers. He is engaged in well-developed discussions with several tier 1 OEMs for both Consumer Electronics and Transportation market sectors.

“This was my first ‘interim role’ experience and Intramezzo’s clear explanation as to what was involved with such a role and what their client expected of me gave me the confidence I needed to leave the full-time role I was in to dip my toe into the world of Interim Executive Management.

The Intramezzo Client Director, Georgina Worden, tasked with filling the role for Warwick Audio Technologies, was extremely professional right from the very first meeting and obviously had a crystal clear understanding of her client’s needs which enabled her to quickly qualify my capabilities for the role.

From there on, Georgina maintained very clear communication to set up and manage the rigorous multi-stage interview process ensuring that everyone was prepared and that both the client and I received timely feedback to move the process along effectively and efficiently.

The result being that within just six weeks of my initial contact with Intramezzo I was secured for the position of Head of Business Development and already in the USA and Asia building relationships with potential clients for Warwick Audio Technologies. My interim placement quickly led to an offer to join Warwick Audio Technologies on a permanent basis which is testimony to the success of the service Intramezzo offered delivering a ‘WinWin-Win’ result for all parties involved.”

Martin Roberts, Head of Business Development, Warwick Audio Technologies Ltd

“One of our primary investors recommended Intramezzo to handle an urgent and key interim sales appointment and I’m so delighted they did. Not only did they field an excellent shortlist of potential candidates – all of whom were extremely close fits to the role, but they also provided it in a remarkably quick time. Throughout the process they efficiently organised the interview process, met all deadlines and finally delivered an excellent candidate who has already proved his worth.”

Derek Mottershead, Chairman, Warwick Audio Technologies Ltd