Case Study

Youngs Seafood – Regional Operations Director 

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Regional Operations Director

The Business & Marketplace

Youngs Seafood is synonymous with Seafood in the UK.
Based in Grimsby, the Seafood company has grown to become a household name with the accolade of bringing many innovations to the UK market, including the invention of Scampi in 1946.

Originally a whitebait business, Youngs has now seen incredible growth to now own a vast product range, spanning across both the Retailer and Foodservice sectors.

A keen focus in the seafood sector is the growing awareness of the consumer, with MSC certification being a key driver in proving sustainability throughout the product lifecycle. Although this challenge exists, in addition to UK and EU fishing quotas, it is in fact an incredibly exciting time for Youngs and the remainder of the UK frozen food industry. The growth in frozen food has been exponential, with forecasts worth over £10billion expected for the combined retail and Foodservice sectors by 2025.

The Brief

Following a restructure within the business, Youngs Seafood briefed Circle Select on finding an exceptional Operations Director to help alleviate the pains following a restructure.

The Operations Director would need protein experience and would need strong communication skills in addition to being proficient in change management due to an ever-looming risk of industrial action. A recent loss of contracts heightened this challenge and would therefore make this a role that would require an extremely skilled and knowledgable individual.

Challenges for us in finding a strong candidate for this role would further lay in geographical restrictions on talent supply available.

The Circle Select Solution

To move forward in recruiting for this role, a full and detailed job brief was required from Youngs’ Group HR Director. This would then enable Circle Select to have the best possible chance to find the ideal candidate at first time of asking.

To cement this possibility and ensure only relevant candidates would make the shortlist, a discussion was had regarding the role itself and the requirements of the candidate to fit the business needs.

Due to Youngs’ imminent acquisition by CapVest, an additional; level of uncertainty was felt, making it vital to work this role with haste and efficiency.

During the 6 weeks taken to fill the position, a 3-stage interview process would take place for the successful candidates.
This interview process was structured as below:

  • Stage 1 – HR Director
    Experience assessment and an in-depth role brief
  • Stage 2 – HR Director
    Key competency assessment and personality profile
  • Stage 3 – Group Operations Director
    Cultural fit assessment

The Result

The result of the process was the candidate being offered the Regional Operations Director role and delivering a very strong turnaround at a difficult time for the business.

The individual also aided further restructuring whilst the CapVest buyout was completed.

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