Interim Operations Director


One of the major benefits of using Interim Managers is that they are often able to make a greater contribution to the client organisation than the client initially expected because of their experience in their chosen field. Indeed it is quite common for an interim manager to start in one role with an organisation and then take on another as the client experiences’ for themselves the Interim’s capabilities and realises the interim manager can contribute on numerous levels. This is one such case study written by the Managing Director of Hanson Building Products.

Part of the Heidelberg Cement group of companies, Hanson Building Products is a leading UK manufacturer of heavy building materials including clay bricks, aerated & dense concrete blocks and precast concrete products.

In early 2013, the incumbent operations director of Hanson Building Products was promoted internally and immediately moved to his new role. Through Aster, Peter Varnsverry was recruited as interim operations director with the initial brief of carrying out a ‘caretaker’ role and assisting in the recruitment of a permanent replacement.  It quickly became apparent that Peter could provide significant added value leading projects at two factories that required significant change.

Peter led the recruitment of a highly skilled new operations director who joined the business in Q4 2013.  By this time Peter had become imbedded in the management of one of the factories.  Peter started the process of reorganisation and was leading a far-reaching programme of change that included terms & conditions of employment, working patterns, planned maintenance systems, manufacturing process re-design and capital investment to improve the process.

Plant performance has improved significantly in 2014 achieving entirely new high levels of output and efficiency.  Hanson has clearly benefitted from Peter’ skills and experience delivering this improvement. Peter remains in the position of interim plant manager to complete the capex projects that he started.

Hanson has benefited from many advantages that Peter has brought to the business as an interim manager.  Peter has introduced new suppliers, new systems and new ways of thinking to the business.  He has provided a ‘challenge’ to the ways that things are done in what in many in ways is a very traditional manufacturing process.  At the same time, his position as an interim has allowed him to do this in a risk-free way with no ‘company politics’ to protect.