Top 3 Business Problems – Interim Executives

March 21, 2019 Leah Hoffmann

interim executives - blank nameplate

It takes a long time to hire an executive—between 4 to 8 months at the CEO or Executive Director level.

What’s more, there are real costs to hiring the wrong candidate. No wonder 84% of CEOs cite talent acquisition as their company’s top HR challenge!

Of course, your business can’t exactly sit still while you search for the perfect candidate. Our clients enjoy not missing a beat during key transitions when our experienced interim executives come in. Combining deep industry experience with functional expertise in areas like innovation and human resources, they step in quickly to help companies fill critical knowledge gaps, maintain momentum on initiatives like driving operational efficiencies or preparing for a business transformation—and then ensure a smooth transition once a permanent hire has been found.

Here are a few examples where companies have leveraged our interim executives.

Interim CEO of an Industrial Conglomerate

The board of a global industrial conglomerate needed to unexpectedly terminate the CEO of a US subsidiary. They knew that his ideal replacement would take some time to recruit, combining an unusual set of skills with a specific culture fit. So they turned to Business Talent Group for an interim CEO who could calm the waters while ensuring that the company continued to perform as planned. We delivered a senior operating executive with over 40 years of experience leading and optimizing businesses in the industrial goods industry—both as a longtime SVP of a privately-owned US company and a turnaround consultant for a boutique firm. He helped the company create a detailed set of plans to support its long-term business goals, defining KPIs and management reports to support the organization at all levels. He also led the shift to a regional structure in which P&L decision-making resided at the branch and regional division, creating special cross-functional teams to help standardize business processes and identify and disseminate best practices.

Interim Head of HR at a Rapid-Growth Pharma Company

The operating partner at a global Private Equity firm was working on the carve-out acquisition of an undervalued pharmaceutical business. He knew it would take time to find the right lead for the new company’s Human Resources department, so he turned to Business Talent Group in search of an interim HR leader. We delivered an HR executive with over 20 years of experience setting the HR agenda for rapid-growth life science companies. Over the course of the next four months, she assumed responsibility for the management of all HR operations, handling the company’s Professional Employer Organization (PEO) relationship and driving recruiting efforts. After a full-time CHRO had been located, she stayed on for an additional two weeks in a part-time advisory capacity to help ease the transition.

Interim Head of Innovation

A $5 billion technology company was looking to diversify revenue and develop its next billion-dollar business. With the departure of the company's SVP of Innovation—and multiple product delays on the horizon—the SVP of Strategy recognized that he did not have the right internal resource to manage and lead the initiative. Could the company look at out-of-the-box ideas in a measured and cost-effective way? What resources would be needed to make those ideas a reality? We provided a serial entrepreneur and tech pioneer to serve as interim head of innovation and lead an internal task force to uncover the best opportunities. As he began working, this executive soon realized that there were no real innovation practices or processes in place to generate ideas or make them real. What began as a conceptual project thus quickly grew to include implementation. Within three months, the executive provided the company with an overview of the competitive landscape, developed an innovation framework through which to evaluate options, and supplied three strategic recommendations. After choosing to move forward with one of those recommendations, the client re-engaged the executive in an advisory capacity to help with implementation.

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Across industries and business functions, demand is soaring for experienced and capable interim leaders at all levels to expertly address critical challenges, guide strategic initiatives, and maintain stability during times of transition.

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About the Author

Leah Hoffmann

Leah Hoffmann is a former journalist who has worked for and The Economist. She is passionate about clear thinking, sharp writing, and strong points of view.

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