Interim CEO

What does an interim CEO do?

An interim CEO leads the business for a limited period of time and with a specific assignment. Examples of assignments can be to lead a turnaround, to drive growth, to fill a vacancy due to a sudden departure, or to enter new markets. The difference from management consulting is that an Interim Manager does not only analyze the situation but also implements the changes that are needed.

An interim CEO leads the business for a limited time to create change or fill a vacancy.

“The advantage of being an interim is to be able to look at the business and what needs to be done completely objectively.”


Examples of CEO assignments

1. An interim CEO drives a transformation or turnaround  

When a business is facing, for example, a change or turnaround, it is necessary to have the right skills on board. When running a turnaround, the CEO and management team sets the strategy to take the company from loss to profit. A turnaround often involves major changes in the organization, sharp cost reductions, and a focus on core values ​​and key products or services.

Being ultimately responsible for a transformation can mean different efforts depending on the size of the business. In larger companies, this usually means strategic work where it needs to be ensured that middle managers have the right conditions to succeed with the change. Communication and transparency are of the utmost importance, as is also ensuring that all employees have the right conditions to succeed.

In smaller companies, the CEO is usually operational and actively drives the change together with the management team. Here, too, communication and transparency are the keys to success. An interim CEO enters the business with fresh eyes, a competence that is lacking internally, and with a long experience of transformations and leadership. An Interim Manager does not only analyze where the problems lie, but also drives the change and implements new working methods, processes, and structures. When the assignment is completed, a permanent CEO can take over a well-functioning business. 

Read a case study about driving a turnaround here.

2. An interim CEO is a confident leader in business-critical challenges  

With at least 15 years of experience in leadership and business-critical challenges, an interim CEO can enter a troubled organization and lead the business safely in the right way. He/she listens to the organization, and above all, communicates clearly and regularly about the changes that are taking place. This could be driving downsizing projects, and at the same time help and support those who lose their jobs to find new employers. In the event of a closure of the business, the interim CEO can also maintain motivation and commitment in the organization until the last day. 

3. An interim CEO drives growth 

When a company wants to grow or is growing organically, through acquisitions or international launches, an interim CEO achieves quick results in a short time through a well-developed strategy plan and implementation. An interim CEO knows which path is the right one, and which competencies are needed.  

4. An interim CEO implements cost reduction programs

A cost reduction program is necessary, for example, when the business shows red numbers or is in an insolvency situation. An interim CEO has implemented cost reductions before and knows which processes and competencies that are crucial to be successful. He/she delivers results from day one and leads the team to set goals with clear milestones and clear communication.

Read a case study about cost reduction here.

5. An interim CEO supports in specific projects

Whether it is an IPO, implementation of new business systems, or a major organizational change, an experienced interim will lead the business safely to the set goals. An interim CEO knows what needs to be done and what skills are required to carry out the projects. After the projects have been completed, the Interim Manager hands over a well-functioning business to the new or incumbent CEO. 

Read an interview with Niklas Hjelmsäter here.

6. An interim CEO can fill a vacancy

When a CEO leaves the company, you cannot always wait for a permanent recruitment process that takes six months or longer. To engage an experienced CEO who has successfully led companies in the right direction several times before is, therefore, a good idea. In the case of sick leave or another vacancy, an interim leader takes over the business and leads it safely until the permanent role holder is in place. He/she can also act as a senior advisor to support the existing CEO in complex projects or in business-critical challenges.

An interim CEO takes office at short notice and can accomplish many kinds of targeted missions.

Examples of when you may need an interim CEO

An interim CEO can be a safe and cost-effective alternative when a business is facing a change, a turnaround, integrations, implementations of new business systems, acquisitions, divestments, or when you need to fill a vacancy. An interim Executive can also support the existing CEO and management team in a specific project. This applies to both listed and privately-owned companies as well as in the public sector. By engaging an interim CEO, your business achieves quick results such as increased growth, implemented changes, or support during the time you are recruiting a permanent CEO.

Read more about Interim Management here.

Why can an interim CEO be crucial to overcome a challenge?

An interim CEO is a safe and cost-effective choice when the business is facing a growth journey or a turnaround, or when you need to fill a vacancy. An interim can also go in and support existing management in a specific project. An Interim CEO is a short-term injection, focusing on the assignment, and is invaluable for changes such as strategy projects or implementations.

An Interim Manager can fill all kinds of roles and create many kinds of tasks.

“As an Interim Manager, you shift to a higher gear to quickly find solutions, create results and deliver value. You can rest after completion of the assignment!”

Quality, power and commitment

Since 2004 Nordic Interim has supported its clients with interim services with a focus on quality, skills, and implementation. We offer Executive Interim Management solutions to critical and complex business challenges. In Sweden, the Nordics, and internationally, for both the private and public sector.

In addition to a global network of Executive Interim Professionals we can, with our own experience from line manager roles in industry and the public sector, contribute with advice and knowledge throughout the entire process, from analysis and strategy to execution, evaluation, and follow-up.

Read about our story here.

FAQ about Interim CEO

What roles can an interim CEO fill?
  • Interim COO
  • Interim Business Area Manager
  • Interim Head of Division
  • Interim Unit Manager  
  • Interim Country Manager
  • Interim MD/GM
When do I need to hire an interim CEO?
  • In the event of a transformation or turnaround
  • If you need support with crisis management
  • In case of growth, cutbacks, or closures
  • In case of business concerns/lack of leadership
  • If there is a need for support in specific projects
  • In the event of a vacancy
Why choose to engage an interim CEO?

An interim CEO is a safe and cost-effective choice when your business is facing a growth trip or a turnaround, or when you need to fill a vacancy. An Interim Executive can also step in and support existing management in a specific project or sub-part.

By engaging an Executive Interim, your business in a short time achieves rapid results in the form of increased growth, implemented change, or as support during the time you recruit a permanent CEO.

7 reasons for hiring an Interim Manager.

Are you specialized within a special industry?

No, we cover and have experience in all industries within the commercial business and the public sector.

Do you have Interim Managers across Sweden?

Yes, we are active and have a network in the whole country.

Do you have international assignments?

Yes. Together with the leading and largest interim suppliers in Germany, France, and the USA, we have founded Globalise, with partners in 15 countries. About 10% of our assignments are international and this increases from year to year. It can be Nordic companies and organizations that need help globally, or international companies needing help in the Nordic region. Since 2020, we are part of the French Valtus Group, the European leader in Interim Management.

How do I become an Interim Manager?

If you want to become an Interim Manager and be part of our network, upload your CV here. You are welcome to contact any of our employees if you have any questions or concerns.

How do I book a personal meeting with you?

You can either upload your CV here, and inform us that you would like to have a meeting with us, or you can contact one of our consultants directly. We recommend that you contact Lena Haeger, Anette Ahlstedt, or Roger Henrysson in the first instance.

Can I get an assignment even if I’m in a permanent position with a notice period?

No, our assignments require an immediate start within 2-4 weeks. If you are interested in working as an Interim Manager but are a permanent employee, you are warmly welcome to contact us and we will tell you more, but you should have terminated your employment to be able to take assignments through us.

Do I need to have experience from Interim Management to work with you?

No, you do not have to have experience from interim assignments. There is always the first assignment! However, you need to have extensive experience in leading roles in your profession.

Read more about the requirements here.

How do I upload my CV and availability?

The easiest way to upload your CV is through our website here. You can also email or call one of us at Nordic Interim to update us on your availability. You will find all employees here.

How am I visible in your database?

All candidates in our database are searchable on several different parameters. When we search for certain roles or qualifications, we automatically get a view of all the candidates and their CV’s. It is important for us to have a personal relationship with the interims we work with, and we have a good overview of our candidates.

I do not live in a large city, can I work as an Interim Manager anyway?

Absolutely, we have assignments across the country.

What background do I need to have to be an Interim Manager?

As an Interim Manager, you should have held leading roles for at least 15 years, preferably at a management team level. You must have a very strong experience of driving change and of leadership in complex environments and situations.