Growing numbers of executives are leaving permanent roles and moving into the fast growing professional interim management market.
The drive for digital transformation and customer experience programmes across the consumer, retail and financial services sectors is creating huge demand for interims to help steer companies both large and small through organisational change.
The sudden departure of a senior director or need for a highly specialised skill set which a business may not have in-house are also major driving forces for this burgeoning market.
For the client seeking the interim manager, their appointment is an effective way to achieve key business objectives and obtain highly specialised leadership skills at a crucial time.
For the interim candidate, attractions include the flexibility, remuneration and variety of roles they can add to their CV.
We spoke to highly experienced treasury and financial consultant Goi Ashmore, who has recently move into interim management after a long and successful career in corporate risk and treasury in financial services, to find out what attracted him to consultancy.
Q. Tell us about your career to date
A. I’ve had quite a varied career function wise, starting off as an economist analysing country and corporate sector risk, before moving on to heading up risk management in the insurance world, covering the full spectrum from pricing to reserving and capital.
After a quick spell in front office, I was back in risk for Barclays retail bank, covering non-credit financial risks and their hedging and credit risk transfer. The last piece took me into treasury in Barclays, in the capital management area, before I became European Treasurer, covering the run-off European retail businesses, the wealth management business and corporate owned branches.
My last role there was helping out on Brexit arrangements. I’ve developed some charity and other third sector interests that I’m closely involved with and enjoy enormously. I sit on the board of Cadarn Housing Group and chair their Audit and Risk Committee and I’m a trustee of Shelter and chair their Audit Risk and Finance Committee.
Q. When did you move into interim – and why?
A. I’ve very recently moved into interim as a result of the year end restructure at Barclays and this is my first interim role, working within the Group Finance area of a financial services client with colleagues in the Treasury and FP&A space.
I’m looking at it on a ‘testing the waters’ basis to see if it could work for me longer term, but so far I am enjoying it. I find working in a new organisation and on a specific and important project very refreshing and invigorating. Personally I like being dropped in at the deep end and being able to get on with things and making an impact quickly.
Q. What do you particularly enjoy about life as an interim compared with a permanent role?
A. It is a bit early to say and I’m still grappling with complexities of running as a contracting business. I think it is going to vary, assignment to assignment, because of the differences in organisation.
But I would say being able to work in a style that suits me and being able to cut through hierarchies much more quickly can really reduce the frustration which I think is common in larger organisations.
Also because the interim is clearly a scarce resource, there is a much greater willingness of people to engage and to help with what needs to be done, so you feel your effectiveness can really ramp up.
Q. What advice you would give an executive considering moving into interim?
A. I would say if you are considering it, then go for it. Initially I found I was nervous about how it would work out, but if someone has asked for an interim there is a genuine organisational need for it and people are more helpful than I’d imagined.
I would also say, get your company set up in advance, because it’s so difficult getting a company phone. I’m serious! Setting up a company was really quick, a bank account a little more difficult, but a phone or transferring a phone…well, I still haven’t got one eight weeks in!
Are you thinking about moving into interim management?
HW Interim provides experienced and talented interim and change management executives to PLCs, private companies, SMEs and private equity backed organisations both in the UK and overseas.
The key sectors we work in include Retail, Consumer and Financial Services, and the wide range of recent assignments we have completed have included interim CFO, FD, CTO, CMO, Supply Chain/Ops Director and Head of Risk.
Working alongside our executive search business with a team of dedicated and experienced researchers, we can turn round a shortlist of professional interim managers for a client within three working days who can typically be placed within two weeks. Completion rates are well over 90 per cent.
But given such client demand we are always looking for new talented candidates. If you have board level director experience in financial services or private equity in finance, transformation or treasury, and are mobile, flexible, and are looking for varied roles – get in touch.
We are holding an advice workshop in July in Leeds for both existing interim managers and executives considering moving into interim – contact us to book your place if you would like to attend.
If you would like to discuss interim opportunities contact John Wakeford, MD of HW Interim, via his LinkedIn page, by emailing email@example.com or by calling him on +44 (0) 113 243 2004 for an informal discussion.