CEO Marcel Faller discusses his decision to retain The Naked Headhunter
Sonoro Audio CEO Marcel Faller discusses his decision to retain The Naked Headhunter for his COO search and the impact Mehdi Chatti has made since coming on board.
Marcel could you describe the business challenge for you as the Founder and CEO of Sonoro at the time that lead you to deciding to hire a COO?
When I founded Sonoro, I was full of excitement and had a vision for what I believed in – I wanted to excite people by offering the most beautiful music system in the world combined with a sound experience that puts a big smile on their faces.
I think we did a pretty good job, however, I found myself quickly in the role of being responsible for EVERYTHING. But being caught in the daily routine leads to a loss of direction and making fast decisions under time-pressure can be fatal for a young company like ours. In addition, at a certain size of a company, you need expertise and additional management skills on board, otherwise errors can occur that often turn out to be fatal.
It became clear to me that I needed a COO by my side that complements my passion for the company and my visionary skills. Someone that brings the right processes into the firm, leads by example and is ready to take on the battles we face in our quite competitive industry. A strong leader that my team trusts and that I know they are in good hands in.
What were the aspirations you had for the role and the risks you were aware of regarding taking in such a senior profile into the firm?
As they say: strengthen your strengths and outsource your weaknesses. I realized a while ago, that I have a passion for creating a strategic vision for Sonoro and I love to network. However, I am not the best organized man in the world and daily routines are absolutely counter-productive to the creative ideas our company needs in order to create a WOW-Effect. When I met Mehdi, I knew he was an excellent fit to fulfill these expectations.
On the risky side I have to mention the financial issues that come along with a person of Mehdi’s caliber. But looking at the aim of finding a top notch manager for Sonoro, it was clear that we needed to make it happen.
How would you describe almost one year later how Mehdi has contributed to sonoro and to you personally?
I am not sure if that is a good thing, but Mehdi and I agree on pretty much all the matters that Sonoro encounters. He is an intelligent counter-part and I can fully rely on him as a person, his judgements as well as his people-skills.
Overall, a lot of progress was made within the organization and I am sure that his management know-how and aim for success will be an excellent long-term investment into the future of sonoro.
I definitely find more time for the things I am good at and that truly matter for our company.
Could you let me know how you found The Nakes Headhunter’s support in the process?
To tell you the honest truth, I was a bit skeptical if a headhunter would be the right path for me to take, as we needed to watch our costs. But I have to say that it was truly well invested money. Mark, you presented a list of top-notch players in the field and coordinated interviews that gave me a great learning curve about the business I am in and how other firms function.
After each interview you followed up with me to help me sort my thoughts and asked critical questions in regard to the interviewees … I felt extremely well supported by you and your team!
Mehdi it would be great to hear from your side also on how you found the whole process and stepping out from a large corporate into something much more entrepreneurial?
I have been at sonoro almost a year now. I learned a lot within that time, about myself and about managing a business, and I feel “home”, but in some areas somehow i still feel like a rookie and i have still much to learn.
Stepping out of corporate organisations, often organised in well-structured silos, to jump into a small structure, which is very hands-on can be a challenge. On one hand, we deal with very tight and limited resources and budgets, we have to keep focusing and prioritising and every decision has major consequences on the future of the business. On the other hand, I really enjoy having 360° business overview, short decision-making processes, and a very targeted focus coupled with direct business impact. All decisions we make are evaluated in terms short to mid term ROI and there is no room for waste! Besides there is a great dynamic and speed in our company which enable us to move quickly and differentiate from bigger competitors.
Clearly it was a big step for you also and while it was clear you and Marcel had instant chemistry it must have been a big change for you also?
Switching from corporations to small size business is indeed a big step, that I evaluated carefully. Marcel convinced me right away that sonoro would be a great place for me to put into practice my experience, and help sonoro to grow towards operational excellence as well as profitable and sustainable growth. So far I enjoy the working environment and I hope to have helped the organisation to capitalise on the legacy, select the winning battles for the coming years, and to make the necessary changes towards a well-organised and well-managed successful enterprise.
Gentleman from my side it was a wonderful and exciting process and I was delighted to bring you both together and even more excited to do this follow up one year later and hear about the exciting growth plans for the business. I wish you both continued successes and hope to see you both soon!