VP Marketing UK&I – STANDOUT/ MMI Executive Search Assignment

Case Study


A multi-national tobacco manufacturer required a new and dynamic marketing head for the UK & Ireland, to sit on the senior management team and set marketing strategy for the region. With a view to creating the opportunity to maintain a gender balance within the senior leadership team, a truly gender diverse slate of shortlisted candidates was required.

At a time when the tobacco industry was subject to increasing marketing restrictions along with negative press and promotions from government campaigns and taxation, our client required a talented marketing strategist to optimize portfolio/brand strategy and annual operating plans for the UK & Ireland markets.


To locate and map top tier marketing professionals in senior leadership from within the consumer goods industry, with emphasis on highly legislated industry sectors.


The tobacco industry is often unappealing to candidates with strong moral and ethical views around the product, thereby potentially reducing the talent pool of professionals willing to consider career openings available. This was further complicated by the fact that marketing professionals currently working outside of the tobacco industry would have to rescind full use of their hands on marketing ‘toolkit’ in this increasingly restricted sector. Additionally there was an existing gender imbalance in senior leadership across the tobacco and the wider consumer goods industry, affording less opportunity for sourcing equal numbers of male and female candidates pertinent to the role.

Parameters of Search

Our research team performed a global search for leading marketers working within international organisations and with knowledge of Western European markets from current or previous global or regional roles.

Extensive existing marketing and consumer goods networks enabled significant activation of all potential sources to provide a gender balanced slate of senior candidates for our client.

Delivery & Results

A total of 427 candidates were identified, of which 316 rejected the tobacco category. The remaining longlist was shortlisted to two women and three men and progressed to interview and assessment with the client. One candidate accepted an offer from a different organization during the assessment stage and another reconsidered their view on the tobacco industry, removing themselves from the process as a result.

The successful candidate was an American female senior marketing leader with diverse industry experience across multiple sectors (including highly legislated pharma/OTC categories) based at that time in New York, with previous extensive experience of the UK market gained whilst based at the UK corporate HQ for a multinational consumer goods organisation.