General Manager

  • Job Reference: JOB-9118
  • Date Posted: 8 March 2023
  • Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
  • Salary: £70,000 to £75,000
  • Bonus/Benefits: Bonus
  • Sector: Senior Executive Positions, Other Rail Jobs
  • Job Type: Permanent

Job Description

Opportunity Brief:

Ford & Stanley Executive Search (Part of the Ford & Stanley Group) are specialists in Executive Interim and Permanent appointments to the UK & North American Rail, General Manufacturing, Envirotech & Digital Industries.

We have been exclusively entrusted and appointed by a global manufacturing business in Sheffield on a retained search for a General Manager

Below you will find an ‘opportunity brief’ developed from notes taken during the scoping meeting (Situational Discovery) held between the F&S Search Director & Client Operations Director and UK Head of HR. This brief is designed to give candidates deeper insight into the opportunity inherent within the role, the challenges the role presents and provide access to the detail that sits behind the job specification.

Client Opportunity Statement:

“The manufacturing site from an infrastructure and machinery perspective is dated and somewhat behind the times (certainly in comparison to other sites within the group). We have started the process of improvement by completing a restructure (with a few exits), overhauled our shift patterns and invested in over £10m in new machinery on order. We have budget, plans and ideas for the location! We now need the GM to come in and contribute to the strategy and help us breathe life into it…”

Main Purpose of the role:

  • Overall responsibility for compliance to HSE and Quality policies and procedures across the site.
  • Overall responsibility for production operations to meet an appropriate level of order intake, at the appropriate margin to allow the business to deliver year on year profit
  • Development and delivery of budget and business plan within delegated authority levels
  • Participate in ensuring that inventory (stock and WIP) is within budgeted target levels
  • Ensure the effective planning and management of resources, used to execute contracts and orders, in line with customer requirement
  • Overseeing the development of personnel and key skills base, including development reviews as appropriate.
  • Overall responsibility for the control of discipline and performance issues.
  • Responsible for maintaining and improving site and process capability by ensuring plant and equipment is maintained and renewed as required by business needs (including  CAPEX submission and justification)
  • Work with Sales on business development and client relationships
  • Work with Sales on the preparation of information for submission of tenders
  • Ensure the employees within the individual business strive for continuous improvement in all areas
  • Comply with the Company Code of Conduct. Take responsibility for the health and safety of yourself, direct reports, colleagues and other persons who may be affected by your acts and omissions at work, and for the environment.

Candidate Essentials:

  • Engaging and good communication skills – able to build relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Experience working in a heavy engineering environment or large-scale production manufacturing of bespoke products (low volume & high value).
  • Strong personality and great resilience – have a good sense of humour.
  • Ability to put strategic plans into operational activities.
  • Strong leadership who prefers to build a team based on empowerment and delegation/trust – we are not looking for a ‘micromanager’.
  • Qualified by experience OR HND/HNC
  • Live local to Sheffield as this is a leadership role the GM will be required to be on-site 5 days per week / full time. (With some flexibility)

Good to know:

  • Current headcount of circa 85 people on site (Sheffield).
  • This position has 72 indirect reports and 2 direct reports that include Manufacturing Manager and Maintenance Manager.
  • Candidate will need to be based within a 1-hour commute of Sheffield.
  • Site is experiencing a lot of change and post restructure this is a prime opportunity to look at marginal gains, investment and take the site from good to great.
  • With this role being vacant currently it is understandably put a lot of pressure on other colleagues who are having to bridge the gap. This includes drafting in support from other sites. As such candidates on 6-month notice will not be considered. 3 month notice periods can be accommodated.
  • Challenges this role presents include ensuring the business is legally compliant, the factory (infrastructure and machinery) are 3 years behind other parts of the business/group need upgrading (which there is the budget for – there has recently been £10.5 million of recent investment on machinery alone).
  • Exceptionally strong order book, our client manufactures in the UK and even supplies to competitors. They are a main supplier to Network rail.
  • The role reports to the Operations Director and quoted saying “that working for this business is best job he has ever had”. The operations director is an engaging, empowering leader who has climbed the ranks quickly during his tenure.
  • They currently supply to the UK but also Hong Kong and the US with an ambition to push the international client base in the immediate and mid term.
  • The business is owned and backed by a larger Group. (not VC)
  • The site has recently benefited from a shift timings change/adjustment.
  • The opportunity has come about due to the previous GM exiting the business by mutual agreement.
  • Culture of Safety (considering the products is paramount).

The Interview Process:

2-stage interview process.

The first stage will be face-to-face on site in Sheffield (4 candidates) in mid march. This is likely to be more informal, and discussion-based with questions posed around the key essentials of the role highlighted above. Site tour included.

The final stage face to face onsite again in Sheffield (2 candidates) in late march This will be more formal and likely to require a presentation.

Decision to offer verbalised to F&S Executive Search within 48 hours of final stage to pre-close the desired candidate. Once the desired candidate verbally accepts the offer the formal contract & offer letter will be issued. F&S Executive Search are providing the candidate a SoundingBoard™ package complimentary to assist with the decision making and onboarding.

We hope to have the process concluded by the beginning of April.


  • £70k - £75k (depending on experience)
  • Bonus up to 15%
  • 25 days Holiday + 8 Statutory
  • Pension – based on salary sacrifice (starts at 4% EE and 6% ER).
  • As a member of the Group Personal Pension Plan employee is covered by the Company funded life assurance for 3½ times the salary.
  • Access to 24x7 free Employee Assistance programme.
  • Discounted healthcare cash plan.
  • Access to employee discounts hub.

Likely Job Titles:

Head of Manufacturing, Head of Engineering, Production Leader, Head of Operations, Manufacturing Director, Operations Director. Manufacturing Manager.

Executive Search Delivery Team:

  • Lavinia Munteanu – Executive Assistant (Coordination)
  • Oliver Nunn – Research Manager (Research, Search & Selection)
  • Dan Taylor – Search Director (Headhunting & Client Advisory)

About Ford & Stanley Executive Search:

At Ford & Stanley Executive Search we go beyond a recruiting transaction with our core mission being that of every interaction we have with clients and candidates is best in class. We are select in the opportunities we represent, as such, work under strict exclusivity or retained agreements with forward thinking and proactive Rail companies that place their trust in our ability to deliver a winning shortlist at the first time of asking.

Our Search Directors (who are themselves members of the F&S Group Board) and in house research team invest time at the front end of process with our client’s leadership team or stakeholders to consult, understand the opportunity inherent within the role, business need, map and agree timescales with supporting delivery plan well in advance of conducting the search.

All candidates both active and passive (head-hunted) can expect full and professional engagement from the Executive Search team in addition a timely, thorough and engaging recruitment process from a committed employer that seeks to secure ‘cream of the crop’ from a busy and noisy Global Rail candidate market.

Ford & Stanley Group Ltd is committed to a policy of equal opportunities for all opportunity seekers and approach all opportunity with a mindset of who is right for the job irrespective sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, age, disability, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief or political beliefs and we place an obligation upon all staff to respect and act in accordance with the policy. We shall adhere to such a policy at all times and will review on an on-going basis all aspects of recruitment to avoid unlawful or undesirable discrimination