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Can You Really Have Executive Talent On Tap, As And When You Need It, To Help Drive Improved Corporate Performance?

By Simon Drake
Posted: 14th December 2012 10:19
All organisations at some time suffer a loss in management and leadership or quickly require new leadership talent to help them improve or change.  This is when the Boards or Leadership teams of these organisations turn to highly experienced Executives Interims who have ‘been there and done it’ and are able to quickly step in to strengthen, or sometimes replace, members of the existing leadership team.  Sometimes these projects are critical and a business is turned-around or averts a potential crisis; sometimes the business simply fills a specialist need which, due to its short-term nature wouldn’t be appropriate for permanent employment.  The main outcome and business benefit is that the buying organisation is able to change quickly and improve.
I believe that there has never been a better time for the Executive Interim market.  The high level of uncertainty in economic conditions means that many organisations find it difficult to plan ahead and need to be agile in their strategy to grow and improve corporate performance.  The ability for company leaders to draw upon executive talent quickly (often within days) provides a highly valuable service that, in this time of unprecedented challenge for our economy, is critical to the UK’s competitiveness.
Why do organisations use Executive Interims?
There are a myriad of circumstances where Interim Managers are used to strengthen and support the existing management team, these tend to include:
  • Strategic change and integration (such as IPO, M&A and product and new business launches)
  • Filling an immediate need for an experienced director/manager (due to a delayed permanent recruitment process, maternity cover, unexpected loss of senior employees, etc.) 
  • Increasing the strength anddepth within the senior management team to address such things as operational efficiency, business turnaround, change and performance management, performance improvement, specialist projects (outsourcing, relocation, restructuring)
  • Tactical management whilst an organisation is developing and changing their strategy.
Penna, one of the leading providers of Executive Interim Managers both in the UK and internationally, has built a reputation based on the quality of their service to both clients and interims – many of which have become interchangeable.  Once an executive has worked alongside an experienced career interim, they often witness the liberating style that the Executive Interim is able to perform without the political barriers and constraints that often reside in the board room and the organisation, as well as the significant benefits that the organisation has received.
One of the key benefits of working with an experienced Interim Service Provider such as Penna is that we not only quickly provide executive interims with depth, breadth and relevant experience, but we also help clients to secure the best person to work well with the existing leadership team and the cultural setting of the industry and organisation.  We find that the key benefits of working with an experienced executive interim are:
  • They are able to provide immediate impact through their insight and experience in leadership and corporate direction and in their knowledge of how best to navigate change within the industry and organisation.
  • They know when it’s time to leave, and understand why ‘going native’ with the client organisation impairs their independent perspective that is so valued by experienced buyers of interims.
  • They endeavour to leave a valued legacy by challenging the status quo and quickly making change happen and importantly help organisations understand what was required to make change happen at pace.
.  The approach that Penna adopts is:
  • An assignment brief is quickly created to support the specific needs of the assignment.
  • The assignment plan is agreed, to set and manage expectations.
  • A long-list of graded interims is compiled.
  • A short-list with Penna’s rationale is provided.
  • The selection process, commercial agreement, engagement process and the relationship and benefits/performance tracking are managed.
  • The exit management & review are overseen.
Typically Interim Managers are charged at daily rates of between £500 and £2500 p/d with assignment lengths of c.  4 – 9 months, but can range from days to years.  The key advantages are that there are no upfront recruitment costs, associated employment costs or risk.  Professional Interims are exempt of UK AWR regulations andpayment is purely based upon usage and the Interim Managers are paid by Penna.
We have a cadre of a select group of Interim Executives, Directors, Managers, Programme/Change Managers and Consultants with top-level industry sector experience working across all business functions, including Board Roles, General Management, Finance, Sales, Marketing, Compliance, Risk, IT, HR, Operations, Supply Chain and Procurement.
By working closely with our Sector Heads, clients can draw on their expertise to secure subject matter experts in key areas such as:
  • Financial Services: Board roles and projects that include;regulatory change programmes including solvency II, AML, TCF, RDR, new product launches and systemimplementations
  • TMT: Board and senior appointments and projects; customer insight, channel management, mobile money, LEAN, supplier management, operational excellence and turnaround including the mobile, consumer electronics, gaming, broadband, music, TV and IT service sectors
  • Retail and FMCG: Board roles and projects that include;commercial, supply chain, multi-channel, programme delivery
  • Construction & Utilities: Board roles and projects that include;procurement and supply chain optimisation, bid management, LEAN methodologies, smartmetering and cost reduction
Simon Drake is Director of Executive Recruitment and has worked in the executive resourcing and consulting sectors for over 20 years, working with Boards of FTSE 100 companies through to SMEs.  Simon joined Penna in 2006 and has a wealth of experience in recruiting leadership talent from CEO/board level through to middle management in sectors, such as; Financial Services, Transportation, Property, Construction, Engineering, Chemicals and the Consulting sector, working with the leadership teams of organisations predominantly going through change (new business launch, business improvement/transition and turnaround).  He was previously Divisional MD for Diagonal Plc with an early career in engineering, project management and consulting.
Simon Drake can be contacted by phone on +44 (0)20 7332 7839 or alternatively via email at

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