How Eton Bridge Partners supported the creation of a new Global Business Services function

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Jonathan Rose, Partner within the Interim Management CFO & Finance Practice at Eton Bridge Partners, and Mark Craddock, Partner and Head of CFO & Finance Practice, discuss the role Eton Bridge Partners played in the establishment of new business practices and structures at a billion-dollar global business.

The Client

Frederic Vaillant, Vice President, Finance Operations & Business Planning, Delphi Technologies.

Delphi Technologies are a global enterprise focused on innovating propulsion systems and aftermarket solutions so that passenger cars and commercial vehicles drive cleaner, better and further. They are a leading-edge Tier 1 supplier with a portfolio of powertrain and aftermarket technologies engineered to tackle the toughest challenges with no compromises. The company has 20,000 employees including 5,000 engineers. It is headquartered in London, UK and operates technical centers, manufacturing sites and customer support services in 24 countries.

The challenges faced by Frederic at Delphi Technologies

Late in 2017, Delphi Technologies was created as a stand-alone company. It had previously been part of Delphi Automotive, which had renamed itself Aptiv. Delphi Technologies took on the powertrain and aftermarket related element of the business.

As part of this process, Delphi Technologies was required to extricate itself from a series of Transition Service Agreements (TSA) and set up a new Global Business Services function. Once the new system and processes were in place, they needed a permanent Director of Global Finance Shared Services.

Frederic Vaillant: “Early in 2018 we had to find some talent in the field of Global Business Services. The primary purpose of the role was to put us in a position where, within 12-15 months, we would be able to get out of the TSAs with our former parent company.

One of my colleagues had previous experience working with Eton Bridge Partners, highlighting the service he had received from them was extremely good. I met Jonathan Rose and he quickly identified a shortlist of candidates who would be suited to the role of interim Global Business Services Director.

The process went very well. It was one of the first times in my career that I had experienced an interim and search firm that was so actively engaged. They really conducted themselves like a business partner in the way they made sure that the search was very thorough, and properly managed. That experience was later replicated when we worked with Mark Craddock to hire a permanent Director of Global Finance Shared Services.”

How Eton Bridge administered the search process

The initial action was to spend a fair amount of time with Frederic to get a deep understanding of the requirements and the qualities, skills and leadership he was looking for in the right candidate. It became clear that he was not looking merely for someone who had the right technical capabilities, but a person with the right leadership and influencing qualities too.

Frederic Vaillant: “Going through a thorough hiring process is critical, and the time and energy spent early in the process bears fruit once the person is brought on board. Jonathan asked a lot of questions about what the role entailed so that he could gain a profound understanding of what type of person we were looking for.

He was able to put candidates in front of us very quickly. And, whereas in the past I’ve had experience of people who weren’t suitable for a role being put in front of me, with Jonathan we didn’t waste any time. He understood what the requirements and needs of our company were and what sort of person we were looking for.

Recruitment is so important, especially when you get to the level of the position in question. When you make a mistake, there’s so much time, energy and money wasted. But in this instance the whole process took only a couple of months in early 2018, and we were in a good position to make a choice after the first interview.”

How Eton Bridge Partners made a difference

The time spent up front with Frederic was critical to the success of this recruitment process. The deeper the questions you ask, the better the outcome will be.

The result was that we were able to cross-reference his requirements with our thorough understanding of the market and the potential candidates for such positions. We know the people who are out there in the market.

Frederic Vaillant: “The strong, solid understanding of the requirements of the company really made the difference. That meant the candidates identified were a good match from a technical standpoint – and were a good cultural fit. It’s important that when someone joins us in a position like this they are able to hit the ground running. We don’t have time to waste.

The only challenge we faced was internal, making sure all our stakeholders were aligned in terms of what we were looking for. Then the only challenge was selecting the right candidate – and the final three were all good, solid professionals with long experience in the field. We could have given the job to any one of them without any problem.”

The successful candidate has a positive impact

It is extremely encouraging to hear that the person placed in the interim role, Richard Wierszycki, made a significant contribution to the smooth transition of Delphi Technologies, exactly as Frederic hoped he would.

The candidate had also been briefed by Jonathan upfront and when I asked him if he had already put some thoughts together on how we would approach the challenge, Richard had already developed some high level ideas which he could tell me about. This was really good…

Richard Wierszycki: “I was very well briefed by Jonathan and he had a lot of information which enabled me to approach the interview process having thought through the issues facing Delphi and how I might be able to help. It was a good, thorough grounding.

It sounded like an exciting opportunity in a fast-moving environment – the kind of thing I like to do. That’s exactly how it turned out and, while it wasn’t easy and there were some quite stressful moments, I really enjoyed the job. It was a very good role in an excellent organisation with a great people culture. If Eton Bridge can find me another one like it I will be delighted!

We had 11 months to complete the spin-offs when the TSAs came to an end, and we hit that deadline. Frederic was a great guy to work with, very supportive and clear in his thinking. My contract was extended and stayed in place to help recruit – and hand over to – my permanent successor.”

Frederic Vaillant: “It made a big difference having Richard on board. He partnered very well with the Regional President and had a strong impact on the organisation. It was particularly noticeable that he was always looking for areas of improvement. The project in question needed to be carried through to the end and this is exactly what happened.”

Jonathan Rose: “As Richard’s contract came to an end, my colleague Mark conducted a thorough and successful permanent search with Frederic to place a permanent successor to Richard.

We have enjoyed the process of working with Frederic in recent years and look forward to the relationship continuing in future.”

Frederic Vaillant: “I cannot thank Jonathan and Mark enough for the way they conducted such a successful processes. I will absolutely continue to work with Eton Bridge Partners. When I next have some financial recruitment needs, they will be the first name on my list. I have had such a good experience with them.

In fact, I would go so far as to say I would probably consult with Jonathan and Mark on organisational decisions as well. Judging by the quality of people they have helped us to hire, their input on that broader front would be valuable too.”