Case Study: LSG Sky Chefs

A Unique Company With a Unique Hiring Challenge

After getting by with a procurement management role that had been consolidated with another function, LSG Sky Chefs had grown to need a full-time vice president of procurement. Owned by the German company Lufthansa, LSG Sky Chefs is an internationally recognized in-flight services provider and airline catering company.

“Filling this job was tricky, as we are in a space that isn’t really food manufacturing but also is not a restaurant, although we wanted a candidate with 10 to 15 years of food industry procurement experience,” says Chris Burt, LSG Sky Chefs’ senior vice president of human resources. “We are tied to the airline industry, which is very volatile and complex, so our challenge was to find someone who was comfortable taking the lead in that environment and not accepting the status quo—but also someone with a soft touch. We were asking the impossible.”

How could this unique company find an individual with the right combination of skills, experience and personality for this one-of-a-kind job? LSG Sky Chefs turned to Pearson Partners International, which had helped the company fill executive jobs in the past and had a good understanding of its unique business model.

The process began with a thorough assessment of the company’s needs and the team’s culture, involved the pre-screening of more than 175 candidates—including one internal candidate—and culminated in LSG Sky Chefs interviewing four highly qualified individuals.

“Pearson Partners was very effective at giving us the best of the best,” Burt says. “They gave us good insight into the candidates they presented to us, and we had conversations about them so that we didn’t have to interview 20 people. We knew we were interviewing the right people.”

Burt was impressed with Pearson Partners’ responsiveness, particularly in adapting the search to changing priorities.

“Throughout this search, we had a couple of zigs and zags, and had to refocus a couple of times,” Burt explains. “After we interviewed a couple of candidates, we realized we needed to make adjustments to our targeted salary range to find a more senior person. We were looking for more broad leadership and excellent interpersonal skills—a real change agent. Pearson Partners kept on diligently sourcing candidates that met our revised needs until we found the one that was right.”

Pearson Partners also went the extra mile by providing detailed documentation of the search process at the request of LSG Sky Chefs’ board of directors.

LSG Sky Chefs offered the job to the first of the four candidates interviewed. In addition to having the senior-level food service procurement experience necessary to excel in this challenging role, the professional who took the job is the perfect fit for the team and the company’s unique business challenges, particularly those involving systems and processes for controlling food costs.

“Our new VP of procurement is very collaborative and can operate at all levels,” Burt says. “She not only raises the bar for the team and delivers results, she brings the team together, leverages the old guard, and teaches and mentors people. We couldn’t be happier. We definitely look forward to using Pearson Partners again for our key executive searches.”

Read other examples of how Pearson Partners helps clients build world-class leadership teams.

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