What do we do - our CEO has just handed in their notice?

4 minutes
Lisa Ross

By Lisa Ross

It is common for charities to turn to an Interim CEO, appointed on a short-term basis of anywhere between 3 and 12 months, to fill leadership gaps while they recruit for a permanent CEO.

At TPP our Interim CEOs have held executive positions in a wide range of non-profit, charity and commercial organisations. Their expertise and knowledge can provide guidance and direction during this critical period of transition.

An Interim CEO can bring several benefits to the table the most important one being their extensive leadership experience.

Could an externally appointed interim CEO be the solution for you? Here we take a look at some of the benefits:

Valuable time to ensure the best permanent CEO is recruited

An obvious point, but an Interim CEO gives the charity the time and space to reflect on the upcoming recruitment project. Is the CEO Job Description and Person Specification fit for purpose? What are the key skills and experience required for the new CEO to drive the charity forward for the next few years? What is the market like for recruiting CEOs at the moment? Has anything changed since we last recruited? These are key questions that are best to consider without unnecessary time pressure. - 6 simple steps to successful role design

Continuity and smooth transition

Even if a CEO is on a 3-month notice period, which is the most common, there is likely to be a “gap” as any recruitment process can take 2-3 months, even before the charity considers the successful candidate’s notice period. So, in nearly all instances of a CEO leaving, there will be a transition period. An Interim CEO can provide stability and continuity to the organisation, they can step in quickly to maintain operations, ensure strategic execution, and prevent any disruptions.

They can also bridge the leadership gap and ensure a smooth transition by preparing the charity for the arrival of a new CEO and provide valuable insight and support throughout the permanent recruitment process.

Strategic direction

An Interim CEO can provide strategic leadership during the transition period. As an outsider to the organisation, they can bring ‘fresh’ perspectives and objectivity to decision making processes free from any internal biases or conflicts.

Change management

Interim CEOs are typically highly skilled in managing change, they’re used to quickly assessing a charity’s strengths and weaknesses, can identify areas for improvement and implement necessary changes swifty and effectively. Their focus on change management can help the organisation adapt to new circumstances and overcome challenges. They also benefit from being free from internal politics so can be well placed to focus on the task at hand, and to get things moving quickly.

Specialised expertise

Some charities may require an Interim CEO with specific industry knowledge or expertise to address challenges and they can bring specialised skills and expertise to tackle these areas such as financial restructuring, turnaround management, regulatory compliance or perhaps a new fundraising strategy. This may be very different to the profile of the permanent CEO, who in the longer term may require a different balance of skills and experience.

Enhanced credibility

Bringing an interim CEO can demonstrate to stakeholders such as employees, volunteers, Board members and community partners that the charity is taking its leadership transitions seriously. This can enhance credibility and instil confidence in the Board’s ability to navigate through challenging times. They can also manage relationships to ensure positive engagement and reassure employees.

Speed and flexibility

Interim CEO’s can be appointed relatively quickly allowing charities to bridge leadership gaps promptly.

Leadership development

Perhaps the charity is considering a candidate from their existing senior management team, an Interim CEO can serve as a mentor and coach to existing leadership teams offering guidance and support while they transition into the role.

Governance and compliance

Interim CEO’s can help to ensure the charity remains compliant with legal and regulatory requirements. They can review and update policies and procedures, oversee financial management and ensures the charity adheres to ethical and governance standards.

TPP have a large network of charity interim experts ready to go.

Whatever your need the Leadership & Governance team at TPP will be able to find the solution that works best for you.

Please call either Matt or Lisa 0207 198 6060 or email executive@tpp.co.uk.

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