Creating Privacy in the Workplace via Technology
Our client is a pioneer in sound masking, paging and music engineered systems. Their products feature cutting-edge distributed audio technology for the workplace that combines extraordinary audio performance, low impact installation and affordability. Their systems are deployed in millions of square feet of workspace while supporting normal acoustical privacy in open plan spaces and confidential speech privacy in private offices.
The company is headquartered in the Northeast United States.
As heir apparent and key member of the management team, the Chief Operating Officer will partner with the CEO on strategy, sales & marketing as well as all decision-making issues affecting the organization Key to the role is an ability to bring prior experience and success in building and growing multiple distribution channels, scaling teams and organizations from 25 to 50+, and expanding domestic and international partners and customers.
Ideal Candidate Profile
The diagram below illustrates a comprehensive intersection of competencies critical in the COO position:
The COO’s core responsibilities will include the following—
Strategy, & Product Marketing Direction:
Collaborating with the CEO to establish a short and long-term business direction that drives the company to become an industry leader and maximize the penetration of the markets served. The COO will bear primary responsibility for refining and carrying out The Company’s strategy. This will include such activities as monitoring The Company’s current markets and its standing within them; assessing current and potential competitive activity; and evaluating opportunities for growth (new but related products, entirely new initiatives which leverage the Company’s relationships, intellectual property and intellectual capital, possible acquisitions, etc.).
Ensuring close symbiotic relationship between product development and customer market needs, creating demonstrable competitive differentiation and performance benefits of CSM products vis-à-vis industry competitors.
Sales & Business Development Leadership:
Setting the approach to commercialization, including direct sales, distributor agreements, and independent representative networks. First and foremost, the COO will play a hands-on role in building The Company by acting as its most-senior business generator and evangelist. He or she must understand both The Company’s capabilities and the market’s needs, and combine those understandings to identify and pursue specific new opportunities.
Engineering, Manufacturing & Operations:
To a lesser extent the COO will share oversight of engineering, manufacturing and production teams responsible for product development, production, establishing build/buy/outsource decisions, quality control etc.
Staff— team building, development, mentorship:
The COO is responsible for human capital planning and hiring. As important, the position will actively be responsible for developing new and existing staff to help prepare them for company growth and increased leadership responsibilities at all levels. Finally, the new COO will serve as leader and mentor to the founding team and as a complement to their existing skills. He or she will do this through personal interactions with colleagues, as well as by maintaining management practices which reinforce a positive internal culture and help the company establish a reputation as a rewarding place to build a career. This individual will be expected to set high standards and hold people accountable, and to create an environment in which people work cooperatively and focus on building the long-term value of the enterprise. When management slots open up, the COO must be able to hire executives who can make significant contributions, not only as individuals but by building effective teams in their own areas of the business; he or she will also have to upgrade the organization when necessary by replacing underperformers with strong new recruits.
Investors/shareholders & board — milestone management, any follow-on fundraising, and liquidity strategy: Along with the CEO, the new COO is co-liaison to the board and will aggressively manage milestone deliverables, be a key leader at board meetings and to board/investor communications. The COO will be responsible for developing and managing against an annual operating plan and in addition to possible follow-on fundraising, will be accountable for optimizing the harvest for all shareholders. This includes continuous improvement of operational efficiency and effectiveness by assessing, upgrading or installing new operational systems, processes and methodologies. In addition, the COO will continually review activity reports and financial statements to determine progress and status in attaining objectives and revise tactics in accordance with current conditions. Combining these, the COO will execute and achieve annual growth targets while gaining increased leverage on costs and operating expenses.
Key background & successful experience with company growth stage includes—
• Board/investor communication and management
• VP level hiring across the organizational spectrum
• Growing sales from `$5M to >$50M
• Industry partner mapping for growth and harvest
• M&A negotiation experience
Previous exposure to international business, in particular international dealer and distribution channels is beneficial. This includes the ability to work effectively in other parts of the world, and an appreciation for the ways in which cultures and business practices differ from country to country.
Undergraduate degree required, with preference for mechanical or electrical engineering, MBA or other advanced degree a plus.
Finally, this individual should have as many as possible of the traits required to succeed in any CEO position:
• High levels of intelligence, analytical strength and conceptual ability.
• The ability, and willingness, to set and communicate demanding standards for professional staff and to hold people accountable for their performance; at the same time, sensitivity to, and insight into, individuals’ capabilities and development needs.
• Decisiveness when necessary, coupled with a willingness to seek input and build consensus as much as possible.
• Unquestioned honesty and integrity; also, loyalty to colleagues and to the organization, and the ability to inspire loyalty. This person should have the ability to identify and focus on The Company’s best interests, rather than the agenda of any individual or group within the Firm.
• A very high level of energy and commitment, combined with enthusiasm and a positive attitude.
• Excellent writing and speaking skills; this individual must be able to communicate complex ideas and information clearly and concisely.
• Outstanding planning and organization skills.
• Good strategic instincts and long-term vision; the ability to address both big-picture issues and detailed, day-to-day management concerns.
• In general, the business and personal skills, and the absolute commitment, required to make a major contribution to The Company during the coming years.
Reporting to the CEO, the COO shares the responsibility for sales, marketing, operations, product and finance. Total employee base is approximately 25 and growing.
Financial Backing & Budget
The Company is profitable and growing at a 30%+ annual rate. Seed and growth capital has been provided by one strategic partner in a joint-venture structure. No other outside investment capital has been required.
Compensation is competitive with the position’s requirements. In a performance-based environment, this will include base salary, incentive bonus structure based on both individual and company milestones, and a stakeholder position in the company.