When a company loses their CEO, it can make the future of the company seem very uncertain. The problem is that to find an adequate replacement you will need time, in most cases at least four to six months and what happens to the company in the meantime? This is when it is time to find an interim CEO to take over until the replacement is chosen and there are two main options for finding one: choosing a professional from outside the company or an internal option with the understanding that the position will only be temporary. Here is a look at each option as well as when they will work the best.
The main benefit of opting for a professional interim CEO who is in no way related to your company is their objectivity. This means that they can help the board, staff and company overall break any old, problematic habits and help create new business habits that are successful. Because of their objectivity and knowledge that they are only in the company for a short time, their only goal is that the leadership transition as well as search process go smoothly so instead of looking for future compensation, they will focus on the good of the company for the next few months.
The other advantage of opting for a professional interim CEO is that they will have the experience necessary to lead the organization. They also know how to quickly assess the organization as well as its operations, allowing them to make any necessary suggestions. Because of this, a professional candidate is capable of helping the company continue to grow during the transition period, preparing it for the future CEO. In many cases, opting for a professional will allow your company to rely on someone who has the necessary experience to keep the company running smoothly without any expectations concerning their future with the company.
Although an internal interim CEO may not have the same expertise as a professional one, they are already familiar with the company, which is a huge asset. However, if you choose to go with an internal option, you should do so only when the company is in a stable position and will continue to be for the next six months. This means there should be no upcoming large decisions concerning company policies or financial matters. It also means that the company is financially stable and all the employees are comfortable.
The one downside to using an internal CEO for the transition process is that there can be more potential problems. It must always be clear to this temporary CEO that their position is just that, temporary, and they cannot apply for the long-term position. In addition, the company must change their responsibilities as it will be impossible for the interim nominee to handle both their current tasks as well as those of a temporary CEO. The company must also be careful as this person’s relationship with their co-workers will be changed and this can affect the entire company. Despite those problems, with the proper planning and consideration, either option can work for your company’s search for a temporary CEO.