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Owner-Operated Regional Food Distributor

The Wolf team was engaged by the CEO of the parent company to fill this critical President role. Partnering the CEO and soon to retire current President, it was paramount to identify and secure a President who would lead future-focused transformation while maintaining cultural continuity. Critical requisites included tapping a leader who would seamlessly transition upholding the inherent culture built by their beloved and trusted incumbent President. Equally imperative was the need to find the right President to lead the recovery stage due to marked impact by Covid as well as focused on driving an aggressive future growth strategy.

The challenges included leadership and cultural continuity, location and cost of living and company size dynamic. This required a dual target candidate strategy focusing on identifying President-ready candidates as well as current President level candidates. Extensive technical, behavioral and cultural competency evaluation as well as behind the scenes reference checking were conducted to validate our assessment for the optimal fit leader for this emerging regional food distributor.

Company Life Stage - Transition, build and scale stage of rapidly growing leader in food and beverage distribution. Recently acquired part of a national Foodservice distributor in the months prior to the onslaught of COVID.

Situation - Maintain leadership and cultural continuity amidst upcoming exit of highly trusted and beloved President (self-directed early retirement moving to part-time strategic advisory role within the parent company). Recover from negative business impact of COVID. Build and fortify in preparation for aggressive future growth.

Challenges & Opportunities

  • Leadership and Cultural Continuity - Identifying and engaging a unique and special leader who would assimilate quickly, build credibility and trust as well as relentlessly pursue growth goals.
  • Location and Cost of Living - Securing candidates willing to relocate to high cost of living geography with priority focus on finding candidates familiar with the unique nuances of the market.
  • Company Size Dynamic - Compelling top talent from large corporate Foodservice distributors to explore an opportunity with a newly formed regional distributor player.

Optimal Fit Factors

  • Values centric: genuine, motivated, resourceful and friendly
  • Culture and customer fanatic
  • Contemporary business approach: no room for old school traditional Foodservice distribution methodology, and future forward thinking and innovation focused
  • Inspirational, visionary leader who could lead a combined company into a new era of growth
  • High EQ, proven resiliency and strategic problem solver


  • Deployed a dual target candidate strategy and market approach focused on identifying President-ready candidates as well as incumbent President level candidates to test and compare outstanding emerging leaders to ‘been there, done that’ seasoned leaders. Scoured the industry for diversity candidates.
  • Conducted extensive ‘referral-based’ research and outreach to identify optimal fit candidates who stood out as contemporary leaders bringing an innovative, visionary and growth mindset.
  • Conducted a series of behind-the-scenes unofficial reference checks on short list of candidates to validate our assessment for the optimal fit.

Search Cycle Results


Days from Search Initiation to Candidate Slate Intro


# of Candidates Presented


Days from Search Initiation to Candidate Acceptance


Diversity Candidate Slate Delivery

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