Proposed Solution for Three Executive Challenges

2005-2006 by Walter K. Cruden -A)

  • Bridging an unexpected vacancy: Board Member, CEO, or CFO?
  • Important project needs leadership yet existing resources are committed?
  • Guiding a company transition requires a Board Member, CEO, or CFO for a finite period of time?

These three challenges suggest five solutions. Before you start, address signature and approval authority and select an expense reimbursement policy. A confident and talented person can function responsibly without authority.

  1. You may know someone who can fulfill your needs and with whom you can be candid regarding duration. If that person has your confidence, offer a role.
  2. Expect "consultants" seeking to address this market niche to find you. They will emphasize their network of expertise and talk solutions to your challenges. Distinguish hiring a consulting firm to handle a special project from retaining an individual within a consulting firm for a leadership role within your firm. If the specific person slotted to fill a role in your organization passes your requirements and pricing is fair, give it a try. Make certain the engagement letter permits you to terminate the engagement at your discretion with immediate effect. Be circumspect regarding the umbrella organization's value. If your are relying on an organization, in addition to the individual, ask, "Is the umbrella organization staffed to supervise their placements [supervisors for each four to eight field personnel]?"
  3. Start an executive search for a temporary assignment. If your executive search firm works on retainer, this may work. Otherwise consider alternatives.
  4. Network to find an independent who fits your requirements. Generally, you will have fractional information regarding someone's expertise. It is up to you to flesh out the degree of fit.
  5. Invite me to handle your situation. I will bring analytical thinking, strategic planning, leadership, objectivity, creativity, etc. to your opportunity. Once on assignment, if you are not happy, dismiss me. Structure the assignment as employment or as an independent contractor. Full-time or part-time assignments accepted. I will price competitively and expenses will be reasonable. Contact Walter Cruden

(A - Summary of Walter Cruden's integrity-based experience:

Board Director of three organizations; chairman of two.

2005-2006: counseled business owner crafting a multi-year strategic plan. Evaluated several potential strategic alliances and actively participated in and supported related negotiations. Ultimately and consistent with my advice, the business owner chose to accept an acquisition proposal from a NYSE listed company that meshed well with owner's strategic goals. The negotiated transaction closed in 2006.

1995-1999: Board Director and investor of MeretekDiagnostics that commercialized a breath test for H. Pylori, the infective agent responsible for most stomach ulcer disease. Role culminated with private sale of the business to the health subsidiary of American Standard, a NYSE listed company.

1987-1988: Served as Financial Vice President and Treasurer for one of the most successful LBO's of the eighties, Cain Chemical Company. Every equity dollar invested turned into forty-four dollars upon the multi-billion private sale of the business to Occidental Petroleum Company, a NYSE listed company, nine months after purchase.

1976-1987: CFO during three year construction, start up, and eight year operation of large international petrochemical joint venture. Honed project-management, strategic planning, infrastructure design, deal making, and team development skills. Designed and exercised performance management and external communications. Established and monitored internal controls for financial reporting. Participate in selling the business to Cain Chemical Company, a private LBO.

Visited Asia, Europe, and Africa achieving a better first-hand understanding of other cultures and their opportunities.