Case Studies

Big Motoring World

Freshstream approached DRAX to find a Chair who would be able to support pre-deal; through the acquisition process and ultimately sit as the executive chair post-acquisition of the founder led, high growth organisation; Big Motoring World (BMW). DRAX and Freshstream had previously worked together in the Consumer space with Away Resorts to secure a Chair and NED for the business.

The requirements for the BMW Chair role was first and foremost knowledge of private equity and familiarity with the intricacies of the sector, in conjunction with plenty of gravitas and clout at the board table. DRAX had a longstanding relationship with Laurence Vaughan, who had extensive automotive retail experience as well as significant private equity chair experience. Having supported Freshstream in a pre-deal capacity to get the deal over the line, Laurence was subsequently successfully placed as the Chair and during the process had established a cultural fit with the Founder and the team at Freshstream.

Gilles, Investment director at Freshstream said “I have known the team at DRAX for several years with previous work undertaken by DRAX with another of our portfolio companies; Away Resorts.  Having been through the process with DRAX, we trusted the team and knew they were competent and efficient with expertise in the consumer sector. When the opportunity with Big Motoring World was identified, we approached DRAX to source a Chair. The addition of Laurence has had a hugely positive impact on the business due to his huge experience and network in the sector.”

On the day of completion, DRAX was engaged to find a Chief Financial Officer to partner with and support the Founder of the business and the senior leadership team as the business looks to achieve its growth value creation plan.

Laurence, having gone through the process with DRAX as a candidate and a client, said “I have found DRAX to excel at matching up candidates with companies who are likely to be a good match. My experiences both as a candidate and a client going through the processes have been very positive. Since my placement as Chair of Big Motoring World, I have been directly involved in two additional searches with DRAX; Human Resources Director and Chief Financial Officer. DRAX presented numerous suitable candidates, but ultimately the successful candidates, although early on in their new roles, have so far proven to be excellent fits.”

For the Chief Financial Officer role, our brief was to find somebody with hands on experience of team build out, understanding of working in a Founder led environment as well as private equity experience and some synergies with the sector. Throughout the search process we found Alex Maby who has since joined Big Motoring World to support the Chair and Founder as they look to double the size of the business in the next few years.

Speaking about his experience going through the process as a candidate, Alex Maby, CFO, said “The process with DRAX was great and very thorough. Sebastian was communicative, honest, helpful, informative and demonstrated a clear understanding of the aspects which were unique and relevant to the client. He was truthful in his approach to the role and provided a thorough overview of relevant information which helped inform my decision making.”

While the CFO process was underway, it became clear that the business also required a Human Resources Director to build new HR policies and procedures to support the growth of the business.

The combination of the new Chair, CFO and HRD should place the business in a very strong position to deliver the short-term value that all shareholders, particularly the Founder, have set out in their value creation plan and setting the business up for future successful growth.

Both the CFO and HRD roles utilised our Leadership Dynamics PACE tool. We developed our PACE behavioural evaluation in collaboration with leading academics and the private equity industry to identify the key behaviours found amongst the best leadership teams in private equity backed businesses.

“After delivering a highly successful Chair appointment, we appointed DRAX for further work for a Human Resources Director and Chief Financial Officer. Both these processes utilised the PACE behavioural analytic tools, which we used to help screen the candidates, highlight any areas of concern, or identify clear strengths. We utilised the tool alongside all other aspect of the candidate profile, and it was a great addition to the process.” said Gilles.

Powered by Leadership Dynamics, our team profiling solution empowers clients to support and steer the leadership team to ensure the business maximises its exit value through leadership evaluation, benchmarking, and gap analysis.

Alex Maby, CFO commented “I noticed a unique point of difference between DRAX compared to other firms. DRAX’s approach to getting to know me and taking the time to understand my personal style, behaviours and experiences was unique and a differentiator in the market. As part of the process of understanding my style, I undertook the PACE behavioural analytic tool, which I found to be a useful tool in the workplace to help create diversity and culture.”

PACE stands for Pragmatism, Agility, Curiosity and Execution: key outliers that, when captured within the team, can help to amplify the team’s performance and successfully face significant challenges. Our behavioural evaluation allows a team to receive a behaviour profile which is rich and full of application that gives the hiring manager insight to the behaviour of your leaders.

“For both CFO and HRD we opted to use the PACE behavioural analytic tool to review alongside the DRAX analysis, which provided an additional independent unbiased analysis.” Said Laurence, Chair.

“We have always been pleased with the services provided by DRAX, their flexibility, attentiveness and approach to the searches. During the time we were looking for a Chair, we knew DRAX had a tremendous workload and were extremely busy, nonetheless, they managed to find the time and resources to help us, came back quickly and ultimately found the perfect candidate.” said Gilles.

Leveraging our data tools, particularly PACE and our Managed Talent capability, has allowed Big Motoring World to de-risk the appointments of CFO & HRD, ensuring complementarity with the business and the broader team. In addition, the tools helps make sure the right behaviours and experiences exist throughout the SLT to be in line with Big Motoring World’s value creation plan and execution strategy. We wish the team at Big Motoring World, and Freshstream all the best success.

DRAX provides good advice throughout the process, have a great network, truly listen and take into account our views and ultimately find great candidates who fit the criteria.

- Gilles Gradassi, Investment Director at Freshstream

Share this case study
© Copyright 2022