Our client, part of a highly successful and acquisitive international parent is at the forefront of design, manufacturing and technology for an innovative range of products to worldwide customers within the demanding Aerospace and Defence sectors.


As a result of rapid growth and contract wins, they are seeking an ambitious commercially orientated Business Unit Manager who will ensure that the unit is “sales led” and focused on new business generation and growth, whilst ensuring that existing engineered projects are delivered in accordance with annual planned bookings, sales, delivery & EBITDA targets.


Reporting to the VP Sales & Marketing and working within a project orientated matrix structure, the role encompasses the leadership of the Business Unit’s Management Team, involvement in the development of sales & marketing strategy, the delivery of the unit’s annual operating plan and in conjunction with functional departments the achievement of on-time performance, quality and overall customer satisfaction.


This is a critical appointment for the business; the nature and expectations of this role are wide ranging and challenging. It demands curiosity and the ability to build strong working relationships, to learn quickly, to grasp new concepts and to demonstrate an assured confidence with decision making. Consequently, the role of a Business Unit Manager it is viewed by the parent as being a highly visible route for the identification of and acceleration of future leadership talent.

The Role

  • Accountable for the delivery of the unit’s annual operating plan and active management of the P & L
  • Personally, develop strong working relationship with key customers at all levels by understanding and influencing requirements across the whole capture lifecycle. Actively identify, investigate, report on lead generation including new product potential and new business opportunities
  • As the leader of the Business Unit Team, work through the team and the appropriate functional managers to address all unit issues and promote a cohesive approach across production, engineering, delivery, sales, and quality
  • Work with the senior leadership team to support the development and execution of Business Unit strategy and alongside them to ensure that set objectives are tracked and managed
  • Present weekly updates to the senior leadership team on Business Unit performance
  • Utilise detailed quantitative analysis of bookings and sales data in order to ensure accurate monthly forecasts and to support the development of the annual plan
  • Act as a point of escalation, review and approve all bids for the business unit segment, in line with pricing and bid approval policy
  • Review and negotiate key contracts and agreements with customers within defined parameters and with input from the VP Sales & Marketing and other members of the senior leadership team
  • Champion excellence to the customer (OTD, quality, reasonable lead times, responsiveness); act as the “voice of the customer” internally whilst protecting external commercial interests
  • Provide real value to customers by understanding their needs and work closely with the team to ensure customer problems are quickly resolved
  • Work with the senior leadership team to identify appropriate routes to market and generate businesses cases; prioritise R&D activities that underpin market opportunities and ensure these new products are developed on time and on budget
  • Seek and understand competitor offerings and technologies in the marketplace, assess their strengths and weaknesses and define a competitive response
  • Complete all required reporting within established timeframe, present information in a concise manner to various audiences, present at quarterly reviews with the parent, answer related questions with a knowledgeable and forward-thinking approach

Candidate Profile

  • Degree or equivalent in Business Management, Commercial or Engineering discipline
  • An ambitious professional with a “go-getting” approach who is ready for the next “step up”
  • Demonstrable commercial/sales and/or business management experience
  • Results-oriented, good judgement, decision making skills and a proven record of achievement
  • Minimum of 5+ years’ related experience in a highly visible business development, commercial or programme management role including experience of preparation of bids, proposals, contract negotiation and capture/winning new business
  • A proven track record of success in the Aerospace & Defence sector is preferable, although exceptional individuals with relevant experience of working within a low volume, long lead time highly engineered complex / proprietary products environment will also be considered
  • Ideally 5+ years of management experience, able to balance the requirement to work strategically as well as with the day to day demands involved within a matrix structure
  • An understanding of the complex procurement process that nations adopt within a defence environment
  • Technical skills – credible across the business and in front of customers
  • Financial (P&L) experience and understanding, including forecasting/budgeting, income statements, data drivers, gross margin and operating to KPIs
  • Credible leader, able to build trust, bring the team together & work cross-functionally
  • Highly curious, with the ability to ask the right questions, understand the answers and utilise instincts to challenge when required (“Trust but verify”)
  • Willingness to develop and mentor direct reports in order to drive their development
  • Strong business acumen, highly numerate and a good problem solver who is able to learn quickly, interpret and develop commercial business cases
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills to develop and maintain diverse customer and business relationships
  • Strong moral compass, working in the best interests of both the customer and the business
  • Able to work within a non-political, open and honest culture that has an overarching commitment towards “value creation” and the on time delivery of consistently reliable products
  • A reliable, resilient, and pro-active individual who is willing to embrace change
  • Have a genuine desire to work pro-actively within a close knit, agile, fun and fast paced responsive team based environment
  • IT proficient including MS Office Tools, strong data interrogation and analytical skills
  • Organised, able to manage multiple tasks and to see through projects to successful outcome
  • Confidence to challenge practices and the willingness to ask difficult questions
  • Solid communication skills, written correspondence, strong presentation and verbal skills
  • Full UK Driving Licence, willingness and ability to travel within the UK and overseas, including regular trips to the US
  • Hold or be able to hold UK Security Clearance

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