Hiring a CEO outside your domain


Is the CEO you need the same as the CEO you plan to hire?

When a company begins its executive search journey, is when it is most vulnerable. It is suddenly faced with the prospect of losing its momentum and choosing the perfect candidate for the role becomes of utmost importance. With so much hinging on this period of transition, it’s hard for a Board to wander too far off the beaten track when it comes to selecting their new candidate. This is a difficult time to ask them to consider hiring a C-suite executive outside their domain even if it may be what their company needs.

Sometimes the perfect candidate in the domain of choice is hard to find. As executive search specialists, we place strong emphasis on hiring candidates for the skill sets they bring to the table and not their pedigree alone. When a domain-specific candidate is not available, selecting a candidate from an unconventional domain or with an academic profile/ skill set that is different, may help companies discover an alternative route to achieving their business goals. When companies insist on hiring candidates from their own domain, they could be losing out on good candidates who don’t have the relevant domain expertise. This is a trend that most executive search firms worth their salt try their best to challenge. It’s a tough choice to make and a Board’s willingness to adapt differs from industry to industry.

One common thread across industries and sectors is the world’s growing dependence on technology. This has impacted the c-suite hiring decisions of companies across industries with Boards making exceptions for candidates who understand tech. The emphasis here is to be at the forefront of innovation and companies need leaders who know technology. Now, the question is, are we making tech the new box in which we try to fit our executives?

We have heard of thinking outside the box but is it possible to do away with the box altogether?

Being a Maverick is about making decisions like this and at LM, we are constantly improving the depth of our search by offering our clients potential matches that straddle diverse sectors. We have found that such an approach enriches searches and makes the likelihood of our clients meeting their business goals that much higher.