Last year we published four articles on the Cornerstone Global Blog detailing the harsh realities of finding exceptional leaders for a private equity portfolio company.
The series went into seldom discussed detail of what makes this such a challenge, and how the investor-owner structure creates unique pressure points and challenges in the leadership process.
The articles were written by Steve Manning while with Cornerstone Singapore. Steve has moved on and Singapore CEO Edwin Yeo has spearheaded an initiative to collate and publish the articles as an e-Book with Cornerstone Marketing.
The title – “The Toughest CEO Search of Them All” – reflects the gritty, down-to-earth content that reviews a long list of challenges, seen and unseen, that stand in the way. The book is filled with hard-hitting advice that you are only going to get from someone who knows PE and has lived the journey.
It puts you in the position of the lead investor seeking to replace or upgrade the senior management team you just acquired. Here’s how the book opens:
The dynamics at a PE ﬁrm are fast, aggressive and all conquering. As the investor leader at a newly acquired portfolio ﬁrm, you’re thrust into the position of tackling senior leadership management issues.
The bar is set shockingly high. According to a 2017 survey, 58% of Private Equity CEOs are gone in two years.
You know what you need. You can visualise what the next CxO team will be like, and what they need to possess in terms of experience and capability.
And you are in a hurry. You didn’t buy a $2bn company expecting to lure the right people over time. You want to move quickly.
But in-demand executive talent is scarce and hard to attract. You want to move fast, but you need to move wisely. The 58% came from impressive backgrounds with the ﬁrst-hand experience that made them seem like a good ﬁt.
It’s intuition you are looking for, not fancy excel models. And a leader develops intuition only once he or she knows an industry inside out, and that takes time. So yes, it’s a tough job.
The book makes it clear that under all the multi-faceted mayhem that surrounds a PE portfolio acquisition, the leadership vision and execution remain the most important factors:
“There comes a point early on when you want to take stock. You’ve provided capital surety it is now only people that matter.
“How you act with management selection will determine your success.”
There is no charge for the book and it is available in several formats.