Background 

Air Liquide is a world leader in gases, technologies, and services for Industry and Health, with a presence in 80 countries, approximately 67,000 employees, and serving more than 3.7 million customers and patients. Oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen are essential small molecules for life, matter, and energy. They embody Air Liquide’s scientific territory and have been at the core of the company’s activities since its creation in 1902. Air Liquide’s ambition is to lead its industry, deliver long-term performance and contribute to sustainability.

Following the announcement of the impending departure of the Group Vice-President of Intellectual Property, Air Liquide mandated Adamson & Partners exclusively to conduct a search to find a world-class replacement.

Criteria

The company was seeking a highly experienced and knowledgeable IP professional with a track record of leading an IP team on an international basis, including experience in handling IP issues in the important jurisdictions of the US and Asia. The candidate would have broad experience across all areas of IP, particularly patents and trademarks, with a similarly broad skill set ranging from prosecution through to licensing and litigation. A focal point of the search was an individual sensitive to the needs of the existing team while able to empathise with the different cultures prevalent within the broader international IP team.

Solution

With our extensive network within the global Intellectual Property market, we were perfectly positioned to efficiently identify and engage with individuals with the professional and leadership credentials sought for the position. As with any Head of IP position for a global multinational, the opportunity generated significant interest in the market. Thus, of critical importance and our most fundamental challenge was our ability to distil the criteria into three key differentiators required for the role, namely: broad experience across all areas of intellectual property; demonstrable international experience, and – in this context – the proven leadership of an international in-house IP team; last, but not least, cultural fit to the company. French language skills were an additionally desirable attribute. The COVID-19 crisis hindered our ability to travel to meet candidates in person; however, the strength of our relationships with and knowledge of many of the shortlisted individuals offset the greater difficulty often posed when assessing candidates’ attributes through virtual interviewing. This was similarly true in helping allay any concerns about moving during the pandemic, rather focusing candidates’ minds on the rarity and quality of the opportunity.

Outcome

Following discussion of a number of potential candidates, we were able to agree on a shortlist of five candidates for interview with Air Liquide who most closely matched the above criteria and satisfied the expectations of our client. We presented Air Liquide with comprehensive synopses of the shortlisted candidates ahead of the interview process, following which the company was able to successfully conclude negotiations with the selected candidate. The successful candidate has taken up their new position as of March 2021.

If you are looking to develop and grow your IP and Legal departments, we would be delighted to assist. Whether you are looking for your next career opportunity, help expanding your team, or assistance with mergers and acquisitions, contact us today for a confidential discussion.

For more information, please contact

Chris Adamson

Managing Partner