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SOLUTIONS AND INSIGHTS TO HELP BETTER
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October 20, 2015

Weighing the pros and cons of interim executive leadership

The word “temporary” typically comes with negative connotations, maybe with the exception of tattoos. Nevertheless, our executive recruiting firm has recently seen an increase in the demand for temporary or interim executives. This type of succession planning was a popular trend from 2003-2005 when interim CEOs for top-tier companies increased fourfold, according to The Conference Board

If you are on a corporate board or sitting in the C-suite and are looking for your next leadership position, consider both the advantages and disadvantages of interim executive leadership.

Cons:

  • The presence of interim executives can spur negative market reaction at publicly traded companies and employee unrest at privately held organizations.
  • There is the possibility of a perceived lack of commitment from an interim executive because of the anticipated limited tenure.
  • Most gains achieved may ultimately be short term because institutional knowledge is not developed in interim engagements.

Despite these drawbacks, companies may choose to make an interim hire for the following benefits.

Pros:

  • Interim executives can bring an objective view to the organization and provide a much-needed outside assessment.
  • When former leadership has left the company in turmoil, a temporary executive can bring calm and assurance to an organization, as well as take on stakeholder pressure.
  • Although short-term hires, interim executives can bring hyper-focused experience in a specific area of expertise that can quickly benefit an organization in need of help.

There are plenty of reasons for and against hiring an interim executive. Our executive search firm is always quick to consult an organization on its needs before recommending a full or interim search for their next leadership position. Be sure to make a similar judicious decision as you consider a “temporary” solution.


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