Zavala Civitas: Leading Executive Search in the Food and Beverage Industry

With a deep understanding of market trends and a vast network spanning the Asia-Pacific region, Zavala Civitas was able to conduct an executive search for a role specializing in food technology development for a renowned global company in the catering sector.   




Our customer wanted someone who is head and shoulders above others in this field, having successfully launched products across major Asian markets especially China. It was necessary to report to the Global Senior Vice President and hence this required excellent project management skills over various food categories besides being a good communicator who could seamlessly fit into the global business structure. The person needed international recognition to engage global food partners effectively, preferably from both ground-breaking food tech firms through their own research and development (R&D) department. While it would have been ideal for this position to be in China, room for flexibility was provided in consideration of the right candidate.

The Need  


Our customer wanted an innovative Chinese leader who could build and develop a local subsidiary, while creating the business infrastructure that would lead to commercial division in China. The candidate also had to have strong ties with Chinese food industry players as well as regulatory bodies connected to it pushing for new improved alternatives of traditional products and methodologies. It was important for those in this position to report directly to global executives, but also be able to blend expectations from headquarters with what is on the ground in the local context. 


Our Executive Search Process 


Zavala Civitas was approached by global headquarters and tasked with searching for R&D chiefs engaged in competing food tech companies or working at the frontlines of leading F&B corporations. We looked for individuals who had experience on both sides of this coin especially. 


Moreover, we used our vast network across China including offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu to interview throughout the entire region. Collaboration with our partners in the US and EU was also crucial to determine that senior leaders with APAC experience were required since they could be repatriated. The client was then presented with a curated list of four candidates, their CVs and our comprehensive evaluations after weeks of diligent searches and internal interviews. Subsequent rounds of panel interviews with global counterparts were arranged to assess compatibility and line management synergy.  

The selected candidate came from a top-notch food and beverage company situated in China, as he had a long record of food technology development. It lasted for ten weeks from when it began until it ended. 


Our Zavala Civitas Executive Search Value-Add 


  • More than 20 years’ executive search expertise in FMCG sector development roles achieved via specialization within tech 


  • This variance distinguishes us from mainstream recruitment agencies who have more restrictive policies and less targeted assignments. 


By Pedro Gasset

By Pedro Gasset

Pedro Gasset has a decade of expertise in business development and sales strategy to the forefront. Pedro’s dedication is focused on placing executive-level professionals. His strengths encompass C-level partnership management, adept consultative selling, navigating complex deal negotiations, and orchestrating comprehensive sales strategies and operations. Backed by proficiency in data and analytics and people management. He has held significant roles, including Senior Associate Director of Business Development at IE Business School, and Principal in Tech & Digital at Robert Walters.

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