Prolife Case Study

We help Business Plan for the Future

Prolife is very much a "New Zealand Owner Manager" business where the values of a family spirit are evidenced by long standing staff, loyalty and commitment to hard work. While retaining these values, the company was looking to grow a very professional, high performance management team.

Assisting this expectation was the contribution of an experienced and capable board which performs the role of setting strategy, ensuring resource for the strategy and monitoring management performance. This was a fabulous opportunity for the new CEO to grow an already successful food business into a truly internationally competitive FMCG company.

The company has operated for around 23 years and has experienced rapid growth. There has been a strong focus on establishing good systems and processes and the company has won many awards over the years. The plan for the future is to grow both organically and through acquisition.

Prolife is an aggressive company, constantly setting itself highly demanding goals. The new CEO was expected to further this growth within New Zealand from bulk foods, Value Pak and entry into new categories. This mandate included branding the bulk category. Growth was also expected to come from acquisition within the FMCG sector, with the purchase of the Mother Earth brand imminent. Thus, ideally, the new CEO needed to be accomplished at identifying, acquiring and integrating new businesses into the Prolife infrastructure and extending the Prolife business range through the application of the new brand acquired.

A CEO with strong marketing competency was sought to build upon the already strong 'bulk foods' competency. Challenges sat around sourcing and selecting a candidate who was not only technically capable but also aligned with the values the Founder was keen to retain.

The assignment presented some challenges with stakeholders being extremely time short and in different geographical locations. With role being based out of Auckland, location was also an issue with many potential candidates.

The Assignment

Due to location and level of role, it was decided a search process along with blind advertising would unearth the most relevant candidates.

Post a thorough briefing from the Founder and Board a full market place search was completed along with blind advertising to pick up any candidates sitting off shore or with relevant experience but not accessed in the search.

A full behavioural interview and psychological assessment were completed along with reference checks and a number of meetings with the Board and Founder.

Timeframe was about 6 months which was not a swift exercise but we were 'challenged' by candidate, Board and Founder availability.


A successful appointment was made within 6 months. Post long listing and shortlist of around four candidates, we had a serious shortlist of 2 who made it to offer stage. The successful appointee has proved to be the right fit from both a technical expertise and values perspective.

Client Feedback

From : David Irving - Chairman of the Board

The stand out features of your performance were:

  1. Establishing and managing a process. Private companies can be informal in their approach to recruitment but while keeping with the Prolife culture you brought a very professional approach which I am sure benefited the applicants and of course the Prolife owner.
  2. Thoroughness, you never left a matter to chance, every feature was considered and acted on. I was very impressed with
    your promptness, no party was left wondering. I don't think I have met a recruitment person with your attention to all matters in the process.
  3. Manner in which you conducted your work was very amenable, so that despite the energy to get work done, there were
    never any ruffled feathers. You fitted in with the Founder and I as if you had worked with us for years.
  4. Independence of contribution was maintained. You ensured that we had thought of all the aspects we needed to and if you disagreed you would say so. Very important feature as the employer can get captured by certain attributes of a candidate, with the risk of losing perspective.
  5. Your process brought forward many good candidates. The one appointed came through rather later than the others , and
    that appeared to be due to you keeping your mind and eyes open to possible candidates.