Is an Interim CEO the Right Choice?

When Is an Interim CEO the Right Choice?

In the dynamic business world, companies often face unforeseen challenges and changes in leadership. Whether due to sudden departures, operational crises, or a fresh perspective, organisations may need a temporary chief executive officer (CEO). This is where an interim CEO can be the perfect solution. In this article, we will explore situations and scenarios where hiring an interim CEO is the best option for a company.

Sudden CEO Departure

One of the most common reasons to hire an interim CEO is the sudden departure of the current CEO. This can happen for various reasons, such as health issues, personal reasons, or a new career opportunity. In such cases, companies may not have a suitable replacement readily available, making an interim leader an ideal choice to steer the ship temporarily.

Crisis Management

In times of crisis, an organisation requires swift and effective leadership to navigate troubled waters. This could be financial instability, a PR disaster, or a sudden market downturn. Interim CEOs often have experience in crisis management and can quickly step in to stabilise the situation and provide a clear path forward.

An Interim CEO with Turnaround Expertise

Sometimes, a company is in dire need of a turnaround. In these situations, an interim CEO with a proven track record of reviving struggling businesses can be a valuable asset. These seasoned professionals are equipped to make tough decisions, cut costs, and implement strategic changes essential for a company’s survival and recovery.

Interim CEO to Bridge the Leadership Gap

Sometimes, a company may be between CEOs searching for a suitable permanent replacement. An interim CEO can bridge this leadership gap, ensuring that the company continues operating smoothly while searching for a long-term CEO. This ensures that critical decisions are not postponed and that the company remains on course during the transition.

Change in Strategy

Companies often need to pivot or redefine their strategic direction to stay competitive. When there’s a need for a new vision or a fresh perspective, an interim CEO with a specific skill set can be brought in to drive the change. They can implement new strategies and offer insights without the long-term commitment of a permanent CEO.

Merger or Acquisition

During mergers or acquisitions, it’s common for companies to experience significant transitions in leadership. An interim CEO can help navigate the complexities of integration, bringing together different corporate cultures and ensuring a smooth transition for employees and stakeholders.

Family Business Succession

In family businesses, succession planning can be incredibly challenging. Hiring an interim leader from outside the family can provide an objective and unbiased perspective on the business. This can be crucial for maintaining family harmony and ensuring the company’s long-term success.

Board-Driven Change

Sometimes, a company’s board of directors may initiate changes at the executive level, including replacing the CEO. In such instances, an interim leader can help manage the transition and keep the organisation running smoothly while the board selects a permanent CEO.


The role of an interim CEO is not limited to crisis management; it encompasses a wide range of scenarios where a company requires a skilled leader temporarily. Interim CEOs can bring stability, expertise, and fresh perspectives to organisations during change or challenge. When selected strategically, they can serve as a bridge to a brighter future for a company, helping it adapt to evolving circumstances and thrive in the face of adversity. Ultimately, the decision to hire an interim CEO should be well-considered, tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of the company in question.

I am a member of the Institute of Interim ManagementMy Institute of Interim Management Portfolio.

About the Author

Trevor is a fellow of the Institute of the Motor Industry and a member of the Institute of Interim Management, is a respected C-Suite leader and professional Interim Leader. For over a decade, he has provided interim leadership solutions to private equity, venture capital, and asset-backed firms. Whether it’s to stabilise a business during a turbulent trading period, fill a temporary skills gap or support a management team to navigate challenging situations, Trevor’s wealth of experience and proven track record in delivering value creation and retention plans demonstrate his ability to lead and support operational management teams effectively. Explore his LinkedIn profile and read what others say about Trevor.



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