Interim management can provide SMBs with huge benefits

The new CEO of Widerøe, Stein Nilsen, has managed some of Norway's largest organisations. He believes that small and medium-sized companies have few good interim management alternatives available when they require an experienced manager at short notice.

Stein Nilsen is a qualified business economist and he has worked as a manager for large and medium-sized companies for over 20 years, including SAS, NSB and Nobina. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of a company in Credo Partners' portfolio and the COE of Widerøe. His first contact with InterimLeder occurred when he was the CEO of Nobina, a bus company.

"The first time we recruited an interim manager from InterimLeder AS we were experiencing a number of operational challenges and we needed to strengthen our key areas of expertise at short notice and for a short period of time. We subsequently recruited a CFO who ultimately became a permanent employee.

Satisfied with InterimLeder

"I have noticed that InterimLeder AS has an excellent ability to find the right people. Every time we have used them we have conducted less than five interviews in total, something which indicates that their initial selections are right on the ball. Another of their strengths is that they quickly acquire an understanding of the work and the companies they are delivering to, and that they know the candidates they introduce to us relatively well."

Permanent vs. temporary

Mr. Nilsen has hired interim managers for both temporary and permanent jobs.

"Something that I always look for, and which I have usually been successful with, is finding candidates through InterimLeder's network who can switch from being interim managers to becoming a permanent member of the management team. This was one of the conditions stipulated the last time we hired an interim manager, because it was important for the owners and the board to retain continuity. At the end of his contractual period this intern manager will take over as the company's Managing Director," says Mr. Nilsen.

When managers become ill

"During the autumn of 2014 I was the Chairman of the Board of a service company whose managing director become ill and had to reduce his workload at very short notice. We had to put our skates on! I contacted InterimLeder and we had a new manager in place within just 3 weeks."

"Never occurred to me to recruit consultants"

When meeting acute management requirements, hiring consultants has never been a real alternative for Stein Nilsen.

"In large organisations it is generally always possible to move people around and juggle managers in-house. However, when you do not have the expertise required within your own organisation, something which is often the case for small and medium-sized companies, interim management is the only real alternative. Hiring consultants for this has never been an alternative. There are not many consultants around, or it is hard to find consultants who are good at operational implementation. We are primarily seeking people who can get things done," concludes Mr. Nilsen.

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