July 23, 2020 – Central European executive search firm Bubenik Partners has assisted the owners of PFNonwovens Holding s.r.o. (PFN) in recruiting Cedric Ballay as the company’s new group chief executive officer.
The leadership change is the result of a long-planned succession for the Prague-headquartered PFN Group, the global hygiene nonwovens textile producer owned by the R2G family office. Mr. Ballay brings a wealth of industry experience to the role, having served in senior leadership capacities in Berry Global Group and General Electric.
The Prague-based Bubenik Partners team identified and evaluated dozens of initial prospects from a range of relevant industries across the globe, before narrowing the field to a handful of shortlisted candidates who interviewed with PFN’s owners. “What we particularly appreciated was a thorough, systematic approach of the Bubenik Partners team,” said Michal Smrek, chief executive officer at R2G, which represents PFN’s owners. “Their dedication and attention to detail, in the end, made all the difference,”
“We highly valued the rigorous preparatory phase,” said Mr. Smrek.
“That allowed us to efficiently arrive at a strong, well-researched shortlist. After verifying the best cultural fit, we were able to quickly pick the most suitable candidate. And it all went very smoothly, with the search completed within three months.”
Mr. Ballay will assume the CEO position on Sept. 1. He will take over from Mr. Allen Bodford, who has led the PFN Group since its June 2018 acquisition of the nonwovens business belonging to U.S.-based First Quality Enterprises.
“Transparent ownership by accomplished entrepreneurs, great industry reputation, and world-class technological prowess of PFN Group made for an attractive career proposition to lure a global management talent,” said Jan Bubeník, founder and managing partner of Bubenik Partners.
“We are proud to have supported yet another Czech-based, globally-operating company in the recruitment of a top executive,” he said. “It would not be possible without the trust and very effective cooperation of the R2G management and owners during the entire search process,” said Mr. Bubeník.
Mr. Ballay joins PFN from Berry Global Group Inc. where he served as executive vice president and general manager for the health, hygiene and specialties division in Europe, Middle East, Africa and India (EMELIA) regions. Before Berry, Mr. Ballay spent 16 years with General Electric. He is a board member of the European Disposables and Nonwovens Association.
Veteran Search Firm
Bubenik Partners is an executive search and leadership advisory ﬁrm in Prague. Apart from executive search, the firm offers a range of management consulting services including outplacement, coaching, career counseling, on-boarding, tailor-made workshops, individual assessments, and management appraisals. Its professional reputation was built by working at the top levels of corporate management, placing senior executives across industries in companies in the Czech Republic, Slovakia as well as globally. Bubenik Partners is a member of an independent worldwide federation Partners to Leaders.
Managing partner Jan Bubeník founded the firm in 2001. Mr. Bubenik has spent the past 20 years placing expatriates as well as local C-level executives into top positions in companies in the Czech Republic and internationally. He previously managed Korn Ferry in Prague. Before entering the executive search industry, he worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company. In addition to his executive search business activities, he has participated in management audits and other consulting projects for major regional corporations. Mr. Bubeník studied pediatrics at the Charles University Medical School in Prague and economics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
During the Czechoslovak Velvet Revolution in 1989, Mr. Bubeník was one of its principal student leaders. He went on to serve as the youngest member of the first federal parliament. He has also been active with human rights and pro-democracy NGOs helping in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Cuba, where he was arrested and jailed in 2001 for “subversive contact and delivering resources to counter–revolutionary elements.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media