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Hired: COO, Shipowner

Spinnaker’s Executive Search team are busier than ever with senior-level recruitment, and we’d like to share with you some of our success stories. In this case, we take a look at a recent COO hire for a shipowner based in Europe where we were able to utilise video interviewing in the face of hiring during the height of the pandemic.

The brief

Client – Shipowner, Europe
 A new but very successful shipowner was looking to expand their team by bringing in a Chief Operating Officer.  A newly created role meant discussion and clarification on what their expected deliverables would be.  Advice on job description, person specification and remuneration was given.


CEO and PE based in Europe.  Private equity backed gave several stakeholders with views and opinions that all needed to be taken into consideration.


A small but growing organisation, they wanted a skilled and capable person, not only with the correct technical knowledge to manage the day to day operations, but someone who was adept at looking at the longer term. At this stage in an organisation’s life there are inevitably growing pains, so the right person needed to manage those issues at this critical point.  A person who could grow with the business,  so someone with lots of potential to develop further as the company grows. Therefore finding the right ‘level’ of candidate was interesting.  Too senior and the organisation would be too small for them, too junior and they wouldn’t have the right experience yet. Covid restrictions meant interviewing in person was not possible, however, they did not want to delay.

Execution & solution

A mixed shortlist was presented; those with very established backgrounds who would consider a move to a smaller company for the promise of exciting growth plans, and those ready for that next step up.  Those with the potential to grow with the business, who were demonstrating through the process their drive for personal development, and future capability.

Using our extensive network and database and gaining referrals, alongside a social media campaign, 104 people were gathered and reviewed by the Search Team.  8 were shortlisted and presented to the client.  3 were interviewed.  One was selected, offered and accepted, and commenced.

Of course, covid was continuing to present major challenges in interviewing, so video conferencing was used extensively enabling the process to move along.


The role was filled by a candidate already based in Europe, so there were no relocation issues.  They had significant operational experience, along with good management experience.  They were ready for the next step in their career so this was an ideal match for both them and the company.


We remain the client’s partner of choice for their search and selection requirements.

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