Pushing the Fast-Growth Envelope

Standout natural products case study showing a man and woman shopping for natural products


With a series of strategic acquisitions under their belt, the Chief Executive Officer of a fast-growing natural products company identified the need for a powerhouse marketing leader to maximize the growth potential of the portfolio. The company is a standout in the soaring natural, “better for you” products category. Recognizing the strength of consumers’ drive to take ownership of their health, the company is adding value to their rapidly growing brand portfolio in faster, better and more innovative ways than legacy companies in the category can execute.

The company is building a powerful and purpose-driven portfolio of brands that offer healthy alternatives and is positioned to introduce CBD-infused beverages with the switch of the regulatory light from yellow to green.

“O’Connell Group stretched our thinking and helped us push the envelope on the search. We needed a quick turnaround, and they met the timetable with an impressive slate of top candidates. It was a highly efficient and transparent process based on a very strong partnership.” — Chief Executive Officer, Natural Products Company

The CEO was looking for a Chief Marketing Officer with a complex set of qualifications to build, calibrate and fuel a global marketing engine at a rapid pace. To position the new CMO to have full impact on 2020 results, he needed a recruitment partner with the knowledge, network and nimble approach to push the envelope and bring the right people to the table quickly.

The nature of the highly competitive and rapidly evolving category added to the complexity of the search. The company’s global, omni-channel growth strategy requires aligning their highly differentiated products with consumer, distributor and retailer preferences. The CMO would need the skills and proven experience to develop traditional and e-commerce sales, a direct sales network and direct store distribution (DSD) operation. Furthermore, their leadership and people-management experience would be mission-critical to building and managing a global marketing team.


The fast pace of this company required a leader who is equipped with the complete “gold standard” marketing skillset gained through classical training in top consumer packaged goods companies (CPG). Based on their long-standing connections and track record in the CPG industry, the CEO tapped O’Connell Group to drive the search. Confident that the challenge was in the firm’s sweet spot, he trusted the team to build a slate of “A” candidates faster and better than other firms who lack O’Connell Group’s 25 years of expertise in CPG.

The O’Connell Group knows the CPG world and has partnered with thousands of top professionals in the industry through decades of career progression. This focus and depth of relationships in CPG enabled them to gain an accurate read on the opportunity and move quickly. Their experience proved valuable in guiding the executive team, crystalizing the most critical attributes for the CMO role and pivoting quickly to ensure candidates met – not most – but all of requirements. Likewise, the CEO’s commitment and direct engagement was essential in moving the search forward at a brisk pace.


Within two weeks, O’Connell Group delivered a powerful slate of top candidates who checked all the boxes. Among them was a classically trained CPG leader who has built a stellar career by being one step ahead in doing the “right” next thing. She had built a track record in CPG as a transformative, strategic leader who is also anticipatory, nimble and focused on making things happen quickly.

Because she had worked with O’Connell Group as a candidate and client over the years, they were confident that her experience, skills and personality would be a great fit. Importantly, as with all candidates, they were able to align her goals and aspirations for her career with the opportunity the company offered.

The search was completed in seven weeks, twice as fast as the industry average of 14 weeks for C-level searches. Based on the effectiveness of O’Connell Group’s process that enabled a rapid fill with a top-performing leader, the CEO also entrusted them with searches for multiple global director of marketing positions. O’Connell Group is helping the company accelerate the process of creating the team that will build their brands across a growing number of channels, categories and continents.

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