Vice President of Engineering RHH 201703
The Company

Our client is a pioneer in the automotive industry who, since the early 1970’s, has been making a name for themselves within the headliner and visor markets. The organization designs, engineers and manufactures products through collaboration between product development and their customer to ensure quality output. Headquartered in Michigan, this privately held, $800M supplier has a global footprint with locations in Europe, and Mexico.

The Challenge

Our client is looking for an experienced engineering executive to lead a global engineering team that is separated by continent, language and culture.  The challenge for the VP of Engineering is to educate and inspire the team through improved group dynamics to see beyond merely finding the best technical solutions for the customer but to also ensure they are in alignment with the company’s strategic goals.

This position reports directly to the CEO, and has 10-15 direct reports in North America, Mexico and Europe, with matrixed indirect reports of 50+. 

Job Definition

The ideal candidate will have held progressively responsible engineering leadership positions within a global automotive tier manufacturer, and will possess a depth of knowledge in plastics and foam manufacturing.  As this is primarily a leadership position, he or she will have demonstrated ability in building a confident, aligned and motivated global engineering team.  This customer-facing individual will have strong verbal communication skills with the ability to present and explain complicated information in a public forum in a clear and concise fashion, leverage negotiation and persuasion skills to maximize customer satisfaction and program success.


Leadership and Management:

  • Reports directly to the CEO, and works with Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Sales and their teams to ensure that the voice of the customer is communicated throughout the organization.
  • Directly responsible for the recruitment, training, mentoring and supervision of the engineering and quality teams (10-15 direct reports and matrixed indirect reports of 50+).
  • Responsible for nurturing an engineering culture which values reliability, quality, on-time delivery, and cost adherence to customer requirements.
  • Develop and present unique solutions to OEM & Tier customers by maintaining expert knowledge of the Automotive Industry. Maintains knowledge of emerging technology trends, new products, features and functionality and recommends new product capabilities for corporate portfolio.
  • Proven ability to proactively develop, manage and encourage a solution-minded engineering team.
  • Proven ability to demonstrate the highest integrity within their personal and professional life.
  • Proven ability to create and maintain a fun, team oriented and enjoyable corporate work environment.
  • Proven ability in creating accountability at the management level, and leading by example.
  • Excellent team building, decision-making and people management skills.
  • Able to deliver results in a fast paced, high-growth, nimble culture, where the industry is dynamic.

 Business Management:

  • Defines procedures and responsibilities within the engineering & quality teams.
  • Fosters and maintains highly effective internal partnerships with key departments [e.g., operations, sales, program management, etc.]
  • Adequate knowledge of business and management principles (budgeting, strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources).
  • Established leadership record with an ability to assess “bench strength” within their team; grow capabilities that support ongoing business, customer and product strategies; hiring the right candidates; and developing and retaining key high-potential employees.
  • Implement strategies in alignment with strategic initiative and provide a clear sense of direction and focus.
  • Continued development of systems and processes that track and optimize productivity and standards, metrics and performance targets to ensure overall quality within the Engineering & Quality teams.
  • Plan, organize, direct and manage optimum day-to-day operations that meet or exceed internal expectations.

Background Experience

The Requirements:

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering required; a Master’s Degree is preferred.
  • At least 10+ years of experience leading and managing engineering teams within an OEM or Automotive Tier supplier.
  • Professional engineering designations, licensing and memberships are beneficial and considered an asset.
  • Demonstrated ability to motivate and lead cross-functional teams in a matrix organization.
  • Demonstrated experience managing and mentoring a global team.
  • Exemplary interpersonal skills, including executive presence and the ability to establish and maintain rapport / trust with stakeholders at a variety of levels, both internal and external to the company.
  • Ability to function effectively at both the strategic and tactical levels in the performance of this role.
  • Ability to travel internationally and work within a global team of professionals.
  • Must be a “Hands-On”, “Roll-Up-Your-Sleeves” participative and customer driven leader.

If you know of anyone who has these qualifications and is looking for a challenging career, please email:

Eric Hohauser
Lead Consultant

Nicole Regula
Candidate Developer

Todd Hohauser

All Inquiries should be sent via email to: