Management stability over time is usually a virtue. But, in today’s fast moving business environment, with ever shortening product life cycles and intense merger and acquisition activity, growing organizations often find themselves in need of competent, experienced management for a specific purpose over a relatively short period of time. Say “hello” to the new type of leader — the interim manager. And, a few months later, when the job is complete, you can also say “goodbye”.
The trend towards increased use of interim management is real. Boyden, a large and well-respected global executive search firm, saw the importance of the trend and launched an interim management division about 10 years ago. Today, Boyden identifies the interim search business as one of the fastest growing segments in its international practice.
The trend has also started to emerge in the world of venture capital backed life science companies. Venture capitalists are realizing that the value of many life science companies is within the science and technology, and these companies are sold long before becoming a fully integrated commercial entity. Recently, UK based Avalon Ventures has agreed with Glaxo-SmithKline (GSK) to jointly fund as many as 10 drug-discovery startup companies over the next three years. GSK, in return for its investment, gets the first rights to buy the new companies. As the focus becomes more on developing products instead of building companies, a part-time, interim CEO to drive the research efforts can be easier to recruit than a traditional CEO, and will be more cost effective.