There is no question that the executive search process is long. When a C-level executive bolts or an organization is going through a transformation – acquisition, product launch, market expansion, etc. – the right leadership needs to be in place, and needs to be in place now.
Vision Share, a consortium of eye banks, experienced this firsthand. Their mission, ensuring corneas be sent worldwide for transplant by eye surgeons, was hampered by organizational problems. The board of directors knew a new CEO was needed, but “the permanent search was estimated to be 6-9 months and came with a guarantee of a year’s employment,” Cindy Reed, Board Member at Vision Share said. “We really felt like we needed more than that.”
The board went to the Association of Interim Executives’ Rapid Executive Deployment Program to bring in Gregg Steinberg as Interim CEO to stabilize the organization, achieve immediate growth goals, and prepare them to hire the permanent CEO.
Steinberg is a member of the Association of Interim Executives’ RED Team, an invite-only group of executives who have successful track records jumping into companies in an interim or project capacity. Unlike the typical executive search process where a firm has to go out to the market to look for candidates, talent from the RED Team can instantly be deployed.
Within two days after the initial call with Vision Share, the Association of Interim Executives presented a few recommended candidates for the board to review.
“It was after we talked to those folks that we knew it was a right move for us,” Reed said.
Vision Share and Steinberg immediately zeroed in on creating and implementing a strategy that would put operational structure in place. Like many interim executives, Steinberg not only implemented the strategy to move the organization forward, but helped bring in the permanent replacement. Eight months later a full-time CEO was on board, and a solid foundation was in place.
“We’re really on the trajectory that we had hoped to be on, probably 3 years ago now when our first CEO left,” Reed said. “We took advantage of having a set of eyes and a business brain from outside our industry take a look at us, evaluate us, and restructure us to put us on a path for success. And that is what Interim Execs did for us.”