Stepping up to CEO temporarily - anyone done it? Any advice?

(9 Posts)
dementedma Sun 13-Jan-19 19:56:38

I had to do this in a similar sounding business. It was difficult. some resentment from staff to overcome. My mistake was not getting enough help from the Board in the early stages as i was just expected to pick up where previous CEO left off even though he was way more experienced than I was. personally I didn't enjoy the extra responsibility, but then I'm happier in a secondary role. Hope it all goes well

Teaandbiscuits99 Sun 13-Jan-19 19:50:44


I am guessing it will be a 'acting CEO' role until current CEO returns. It is early days so we don't know timescales.

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SluggishSnail Sun 13-Jan-19 18:35:41

To be honest, most CEO roles will have to deal with lots of very strong minded stakeholders. As long as you are confident and persuasive and know your stuff, it will be fine.
Is it open ended, or is it an official interim position?

Teaandbiscuits99 Sun 13-Jan-19 17:29:15

Thanks for the replies, v helpful.

Still in shock/concern for current CEO to really feel excited. Also nothing official has been agreed but I wanted to be ready as they'll prob want me to make a decision quickly.

I imagine the focus will be to concentrate on ensuring we deliver a couple of major projects this year. It is fast paced so, it will move forward anyway.

Relationships with SMT are ok with 2, more of an issue with 1. But I think we can work it out. We all want to ensure there is an org for the CEO to come back to!

It wouldn't be my first choice for a first CEO role as lots of very strong minded stakeholders. But I had already started to jobhunt CEO roles, so will take it, if offered.

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trashcansinatra Sun 13-Jan-19 17:22:50

As Belisha says, be clear on whether you are care taking until they get back, or actually being a CEO where you can set (different) strategy and make decisions.

If the latter, take time to understand the current situation, and take time to think about any changes you want to make. Consider a 90-day plan approach (or 100). Google then

Coaching is an excellent idea. Definitely do that.

And, good luck!!

User1011 Sun 13-Jan-19 17:15:14

It’s a great opportunity.

But, ask for the correct salary as they may not think you are good at it not want you to return to your old position, especially if someone else is doing it.

Belishaa Sun 13-Jan-19 16:24:49

I've worked closely with someone who has done this. She was ace at it, and when previous boss returned she got snapped up to be a CEO elsewhere.

Top tip from her was to establish (with the perm CEO, and the board), whether they just expect you to keep things ticking over, or whether they want you to keep driving/ changing the organisation as an incoming CEO in more normal circs would.

I've also seen it done really badly, when a different interim CEO felt he couldn't take any decisions. To the extent of him being on public platforms saying he couldn't offer an opinion on various things as they'd come up since the perm CEO left so he had no guidance on the organisational stance. Totally undermined him.


SluggishSnail Sun 13-Jan-19 13:03:34

Do you feel excited by the opportunity? Do you have a vision of what you would achieve given the chance?

How are your relationships with the 4 SMT peers? Is the board generally supportive?

It sounds like a great opportunity!

Teaandbiscuits99 Sun 13-Jan-19 10:36:56


Namechanged. Due to current CEO's health, I have been told I might be asked to step up for the time they are out (likely to be months, as it is cancer).

Has anyone done this? Or stepped up into any role? Got any advice?

I am interested in anything I need to think about in terms of looking out for me (salary upgrade, maybe coaching support) and then the practicalities of doing the acting up role - I will be managing my current 4 SMT peers. And supporting our board.

I would insist we backfill my role.

Don't want to say too much but org is small and a non-profit.

Any insights would be much appreciated.


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