Change in leadership in an organisation is always a sensitive issue – in particular when the change implies the transition from family owned leadership to hiring an external CEO. There are more cases of what can go wrong in this transition than what can go right. In the case study below, you can read how Flensby & Partners secured that the right leadership profile was identified to a growth oriented and partly private equity owned company.
Our client was a leading lifestyle company that has been awarded multiple awards for achieving substantial growth while still having a strong CSR focus. The company is partly owned by a Danish private equity player and partly by two entrepreneurs, who took over the company a decade ago. This year, one of the entrepreneurs, the CEO, decided that he wanted to move on to other things in life and therefore the board decided to commence the search process for a CEO that could take over the leadership role of the company. The ambition for the company is to embark on a substantial growth journey whereby a substantial focus on e-commerce will be in focus.
Flensby & Partners was engaged to conduct the executive search project as we are well-known for our experience in C-level search projects where we can document a solid track record also within this industry.
During the early briefing phase, Flensby & Partners challenged the future leadership balance of having one of the current owners still involved in the daily leadership, while the new CEO was to find his/her role between the daily leadership of the organization and the board. The Flensby & Partners consultant leading the project had in his career been hired to a similar role and thereby it was vital to bring the consultant’s own background into play to secure the right operating room for the new CEO.
During the briefing process, the operating space was well-defined and the search process was commenced. Following 6 weeks of intensive search in both Denmark and across Europe, the board was presented to 4 candidates that were all highly qualified for the position. In this case, three out of four candidates were brought forward to meet the board a second time where the CEO candidates also were asked to present a case on the future positioning of the company. Case tasks for our final candidate interviews is used in most our search projects and in general this gives a solid view into the tool box of the candidates and a view into the leadership approach when entering the role and the new company. In this specific case, the board obtained a very solid view into the thoughts and reflections of the final candidate which led to the candidate being offered the CEO role.
Following an intensive 12 weeks process from the finalisation of the role description to the contract signature, the new CEO was invited to join the company. Instrumental in selecting exactly this candidate has been the personal approach to leadership whereby this candidate is creating followers. In this specific case, the entire organization is extremely sensitive to what a new leadership profile will be bringing along and due to a thorough briefing process in combination with the Flensby & Partners consultant’s own experience in a setting like this, the cultural and leadership challenge was solved very successfully.
For further information, please contact:
Morten Winther, CEO & Partner, Flensby & Partners
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