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What challenges will you face as an interim CEO?

22/08/16

As the domestic and international markets continue to evolve, the need for good and strong leadership at both a strategic and operational level is paramount to business success.

Having the right leadership at the right time can be the difference between success and failure.

If you have been appointed as an interim CEO then it often means that the organisation’s current succession programme has failed. One of your key responsibilities will be to ensure the business or organisation continues to grow but this can be difficult when you’re not seen as a permanent member of staff. 

What does the role entail?

A CEO oversees the entire operation of a business or organisation and an interim CEO will be appointed by the board of directors if the current CEO has left suddenly or is being replaced.

Your main responsibilities will be aligned with that of a regular CEO and cover five central functions:

1. Finance
2. Strategy
3. Operations
4. Marketing
5. Mentoring

You will be responsible for the success or failure of the business – particularly in crisis situations – and that means the stakes are high.

You will need to cope with any challenges thrown at you, but what are the main ones?

Problem: Finding and retaining talent

It’s not always an easy task to find the right employees for your business. When you do, retaining them can be even harder.

UK business leaders identified a clear challenge when it comes to accessing individuals with the right talent and skills and according to PricewaterCoopers (PwC) 84%1  of CEOs deem skill shortages a key business threat.

Solution: Introduce a new strategy

To tackle this challenge head on, you will need to explore recruitment and retention strategies.

While 57%2  of CEOs do not currently have a strategy in place to promote talent diversity within the workplace – and 17%3  have no plans to introduce one – those who do report clear business benefits.

A massive 97%4   say it helps them attract new talent and 77%5   note enhanced business performance. 

Problem: Pushing for further growth

It is vital that you push for further growth in your position but firms may be reluctant to allow you to make large changes that could affect their profits and potentially be reversed when a new permanent CEO (who may have different approaches to you) is appointed.

While PwC found UK CEOs are the most confident in Europe about their company’s growth prospects, they are much less confident than 12 months ago and only 61%6  believe there are greater growth prospects now than three years ago.

The concept of over regulation is worrying 78%7  of British CEOs too while 80%8  are concerned about geopolitical uncertainty.

Solution: Do your research and stay in touch

In order for you to combat this problem it is essential that you look at the “underbelly” of the business and converse with all directors and board members on a regular basis.

By doing your research you can ensure any proposals you put forward are backed by hard evidence. Staying in touch with all levels of the staffing hierarchy will help directors and other individuals in positions of power feel more at ease.

Problem: Keeping up with new technology

With new technology continuously making its way into the business sector and digital offering numerous benefits, it is important that you remain on top of new developments.

This can be easier said than done as new technology evolves all the time and is a pressing concern for any business - 33%9   of CEOs believe a potential competitor could emerge from the technology industry in the near future. It is your job to make sure this rival doesn’t upset the applecart.

Solution: Call in the experts

Digital is extremely important in today’s workplace; 90%10  of UK CEOs say it has led to an enhanced customer experience and 82%11  believe it has enabled them to deliver their services more efficiently.

Appoint digital and tech experts to help you stay at the forefront of this industry and keep abreast of the latest developments. A proactive approach that constantly seeks the latest tech which could benefit your business is the only suitable position to take.

As experts in interim management recruitment at senior level, Veredus has been shortlisted on the Institute of Interim Management Survey.

You can take part in the survey here.

1-5 http://www.pwc.co.uk/ceo-survey/access-to-talent-a-growing-problem.jhtml
6-8 http://www.pwc.co.uk/ceo-survey/a-positive-but-qualified-outlook-for-growth.jhtml 
9-11 http://www.pwc.co.uk/ceo-survey/embracing-technology-the-need-to-lead-from-the-front.jhtml

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