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Interim Executives – To Be or Not to Be?

21 Feb, 2014

Interim Executives – To Be or Not to Be?

At a time of uncertainty in the world, what’s an executive to do when in the midst of a job search?

Interim Executive…

Many companies are using Interim Executives. To quote Karen Klein of Businessweek “Unlike consultants, Interim Executives work within a company, filling a position that has gone vacant due to an employee leaving, dying, or being dismissed. They can fulfill as many as three functions: Stepping into a job that needs doing, helping to interview and choose a permanent replacement, and diagnosing and implementing important internal changes.”


Some executives are thinking seriously or have taken the leap to Interim Executive positions for several reasons:

1.  Wait out the economic unrest and move into a permanent position when the state of the economy has stabilized.

2.  Use the Interim Executive position as a stepping stone into a new field or to hone and strengthen an existing or new skill set.

3.  Get familiar with an organization’s corporate culture before considering a senior level position.

4.  Have an potential advantage in a hiring opportunity within the organization (try before you buy).

These types of positions can be very short-term (keep organization running during hiring process) or long-term (company reorganization or developing funding / resources for next level goals).

Engaging Interim Executives help the company because they can save thousands to millions of dollars in operating costs by hiring successful C- or V- level executives can have demonstrable experience in business transformation, corporate governance, corporate strategies, finance / accounting, human capital / organizational development, information technology, marketing, mergers and acquisitions, operations, and sales.

Key components to being successful as an Interim Executive is someone who can listen effectively, quickly identify problems and execute solutions that achieve the goal. An open mind, with entrepreneur spirit and sharp leadership qualities are helpful as well.


An Interim Executive does not have it easy, sometimes walking into an organization that has long-standing problems, and perhaps resentment from the existing management and support staff. The person who is considering this type of alternative career move should consider the consequences carefully.

1. Potentially lower salary options, no benefits, bonuses or perks.
2. Need to wear several hats, covering more than one management position.
3. Get back to basics, smaller picture ideas, and skills and fundamentals.
4. Short-term assignment.

Working as an Interim Executive is one way to bridge the gap in employment. It can also be a good choice for a high-level, semi-retired entrepreneur or executive who wants to keep active but doesn’t want a long-term commitment.

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