Report: 8 Cases When VC’s / Boards Should Hire An Interim CEO

The Economist recently reported that venture capitalists and boards of directors of European companies are far ahead of their US counterparts in understanding when it makes sense to hire an interim CEO.  Now, a new report out of the UK – which has perhaps the most sophisticated interim management services in the world – details eight cases when a board should consider putting in an interim CEO.

I’ve listed them below, but first three other key points from the report:

  1. Interim CEOs are not consultants; rather, they are hands-on workers.
  2. Interim CEOs are not potential employees; the good ones do interim work as a way of life (and not as a “filler” until a poor economy improves.)
  3. Interim CEOs can be taken into the confidence of a board (as an interim person has the advantage of impartiality.)

The report also talks about why younger and younger executives are turning to interim management as a way to achieve a more flexible and rewarding career.  While delivering significant benefits to the client, interim managers provide themselves with a satisfying work / life balance.  Good ones often say, “I never want to be in salaried employment again” as they have “been there, done that” and it no longer appeals.

Eight Cases:

  1. Plugging a gap created by a sudden departure (whether or not that departure is initiated by the board.)
  2. Managing an acquisition.
  3. Managing a project.
  4. Effecting cultural change.
  5. Setting up a new business (or closing one down.)
  6. Mentoring a young team.
  7. Managing a crisis.
  8. Turning around an ailing business.

I’ve completed 29 interim assignments in 20 years (4 in the States, and 6 in Europe) and the cases I’ve most often come across are cultural change, new business, young team, crisis management, and turn around.


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