Interim Executives: Short-Term Relationships for Long-Term Success

Is your company in the middle of a challenging transition? Are you downsizing, dealing with rapid growth, or struggling with high turnover? If so, you might well need the help of an interim executive who can help you steer the ship.

An interim executive steps in during a company’s time of need to perform any of the following functions:

  • Preparing a transition plan
  • Overseeing day-to-day operations
  • Overseeing the in-house team
  • Prioritizing activities that need to take place in order for the transition to be a success
  • Filling a gap when an executive departs
  • Helping to hire new talent
  • Providing support for existing executives

How important is all of this support? Frankly, any transition can sink your company. You’re taking a big risk by going it alone. An executive can help guide you through the transition so that you wind up expanding the company instead of closing the company. It’s just that important.

Interim Executives Come to the Rescue

Hiring a permanent CEO can take months of research, interviews, and negotiations. An interim CEO can be on the scene almost immediately.

Two of my favorite aspects of Shared CxO’s interim executive services are the flexibility and scalability of the service. We can have a highly experienced interim executive at your disposal, briefed and ready to go very quickly. You can even use your interim executive while you are making your decision on the person who will be taking the position on a permanent basis.

Interim Executives Clean up the Mess

I’m sure you can imagine the following scenario: a company’s CEO resigns or is let go right in the middle of a crucial time in a company’s history. Maybe the business is not performing as expected due to poor guidance, or maybe the CEO has simply found a job that’s more appealing to him, leaving his former employer in a lurch. Even four weeks’ notice isn’t enough time to tie up every loose end, complete every strategy or project or provide notes for the interim period. It’s certainly not enough time to undo any damage done by a less-than-stellar CEO. So what does a business owner do when faced with this situation?

The smart decision, I believe, is to hire an interim executive to work on finishing up anything the former CEO left undone, or to fix problems, big or small, that have cropped up during the former CEO’s tenure. This is where our CEO advisors really shine. They’re able to enter the company, ascertain the issues that need to be addressed, and get to work – inspiring the in-house talent in the process.

The unappealing alternative is for a business owner to let the loose ends remain loose, allowing mistakes to go unfixed until they grow into larger, more severe problems while he does his best to search for a new, permanent CEO. I can’t imagine any business owner feeling like this is the best way forward.

Interim Executives Aren’t Afraid of Tough Decisions

Our CEO advisors don’t have any preconceptions about the company when they arrive. That means they can make difficult decisions without any emotional baggage. They don’t have any fears about upsetting staff members or stakeholders. They don’t have any stake in company politics. Instead, they are solely concerned with the success of your business, both in the short term and over the long term.

This isn’t to say that your interim CEO has to be unpopular. In fact, we find that most employees are quite welcoming of our professionals. That’s because a Shared CxO CEO knows how to take action in a tactful manner. Our CEOs are never afraid to be honest or upfront. They can tackle each tricky situation with total confidence.

Interim Executives Keep Things Moving

Companies in transition often suffer from a slow-down of processes and productivity. They also often suffer from a disruption of day-to-day business which can become very costly.

A talented interim executive keeps everything running full steam ahead, even though his responsibilities may well include the creation of a full change strategy. When a good CEO advisor identifies a need to make those changes he or she will be making them as seamlessly as possible, which means your business won’t suffer from needless disruptions.

Of course, all good things must come to an end. The interim executives we employ at Shared CxO actually actively work towards bringing their relationship with their clients to an end.


Because the interim has passed. Our job has been done. We’re happy to continue to work with any client on a long-term or consultative basis, but we’re after that “mission accomplished” moment: the moment when your company emerges from transition, or when your new, permanent CEO is in place and has been brought up to speed.

Interim Executives are Becoming the New Norm

There’s no shame in admitting you need the help of an interim CEO. This need is often both vital and pressing for mid-market businesses. In truth, many major players are also working with interim executives, and are even doing so quite publicly.

Blackberry, AstraZeneca, Mozilla, The New Mexico Lottery Board, Crocs, the LA Clippers, Carnegie Mellon University, Avis Europe…all corporations in industries around the globe which have, at times, relied on the temporary leadership of an interim executive. And while these are enormous organizations, don’t all businesses, at heart, yearn to play in the big leagues? Owners shouldn’t be afraid to embrace interim executives for as long as they’re needed.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that within the next several years, approximately 20% of American businesses will utilize staffing of some sort, which naturally will include interim executive solutions.

Ready to Hire an Interim Executive?

If you think the time is right for you to bring an interim executive on board, we invite you to get in touch to discuss your needs or view our membership packages. You can also find more information about our interim executive services on our CEO advisory and outsourcing page.