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Executive Talent Mapping for DPM in Eastern Europe

In 2021, we worked with the TSX-listed Canadian miner, Dundee Precious Metals, to map the local market for a key executive role for their Serbian operation.

When Dundee Precious Metals (DPM) found themselves in need of a Country Manager for their Timok Gold Project in Serbia, their initial in-house search drew a blank.

It was a pivotal leadership role that could make or break the progress of the project.

More than simply filling the role, it was about having the right person at the helm to take the project from pre-feasibility right through to execution.

Defining the role

The role required a Serbian national—either living locally or willing to repatriate—who understood the local culture, community, and government stakeholders.

Finding a suitable candidate for the role was a challenge, though.

DPM’s initial searches turned up short. With only 22,000 of Serbia’s 7 million people working in mining, it was a small pool of prospective candidates.

The only way forward was to get a better sense of the executive talent landscape.

Why did DPM choose talent mapping?

“The Country Manager role is all-encompassing,” explains Rob Wienand, Project Director for the Timok Gold Project.

“Initially it was more of an op-readiness role—someone who could prepare the project for operations after commissioning, and set up all the systems and training, so when you push the button, you have a crew of people who know the plant and the mine intimately,” says Rob.

“But we were looking to the future—a versatile, highly experienced senior manager who could step into the role and look after the government relations, stakeholder engagement, and the ongoing project.”

Daniel Shaw, EMEA Delivery Manager, Globe 24-7, explains how important an in-depth market analysis is for a role like this.

“A good local Country Manager is vital in regions like Serbia. They must be linguistically competent, culturally astute, and able to forge strong bonds with various local stakeholders,” he says.

“It’s about seeing who is out there, with the goal of understanding the available talent pool, and identifying potential fits.”

Mapping the market: How it worked

We started by working closely with DPM to scope the project and gain a deep understanding of their needs.

We mapped the local market and largest employers in the region. We completed an in-depth evaluation of Serbian nationals and explored different platforms to source talent.

Finally, we measured prospective talent against DPM’s workplace plan criteria and provided a final report with curated candidates.

“We look at complementary industry talent and dig into our established local networks,” says Daniel.

“Then we consult our extensive database and seek out potential repatriates—those Serbians who have ventured abroad for work but may be open to returning home,” he explains.

Each shortlisted individual was not just qualified but aligned with DPM’s long-term objectives in Serbia.

Executive search success

Following the talent mapping process, the DPM team decided to offer the Country Manager role to a candidate from our shortlist.

By December 2021, the international miner had filled their vacancy. This ended up being a linchpin for the Timok project.

Daniel says, “Talent mapping helped ensure DPM had a deep understanding of the talent pool for this role.”

“In such a pivotal leadership role, the individual becomes the local face of the company. It’s critical to get it right.”


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