Case Study: China Country Director for a globally renowned British organisation

This was a central, highly visible role promoting UK-China relations for one of the world’s foremost educational, cultural and social organisations. Responsible for a major staff complement across dispersed offices and multiple business streams, this was a significant leadership position and an important one, given the regional context of ever-increasing market competition in English language and online learning.

The appointed individual needed to be able to quickly develop contextual and cultural understanding of a highly complex organisation in an exposed and politically sensitive role. They would also need the capacity to drive change and improvement in an established, embedded and ideology-driven culture, as well as the ability to retain a strategic overview while managing a large workforce.

The challenge for The Spencer Group was not only to attract senior individuals with exceptional leadership skills, drive and determination – who were also Mandarin-speaking UK passport holders – but to overcome brand preconceptions within the market.

We took a targeted and proactive approach, with message management to key individuals across a variety of industries, specifically targeting organisations which required a similar scale of leadership and also had dispersed workforces operating in China.

The resulting shortlist spanned multiple sectors, including education, NGOs, charities, luxury goods and automotive, and a successful appointment was ultimately made.             

“The Spencer Group have worked with us on a number of key senior and global roles over the past 18-24 months and their consistent approach to understanding our challenges and markets gives us much confidence in their ability to deliver. In working with us and asking the right questions of the right people, they develop the requirements to a considerable depth which ensures we have a strong field and, ultimately, the best candidate for the role.”