Cowen Partner’s Top 5 Executive Search Articles & Trends in 2021 | Executive Search Firm

Cowen Partner’s Top 5 Executive Search Articles & Trends in 2021

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and social and cultural issues like the Black Lives Matter Movement, the business landscape has changed drastically from what it used to be. There are new mountains to scale and valleys to cross, and businesses now require different qualities, characteristics, and skillsets from their C-suite executives.

The following five articles stand out as the most searched and read from the several articles our 5-star executive search firm published in 2021. The most widely read articles focused on key executive roles in companies, promoting diversity and inclusion, and critical roles in private equity companies. 

See below for our top five articles and a summary of each. 

COO Performance Metrics: How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your COO

A COO is responsible for the day-to-day running of your company. In this article, we explain the role of the COO in detail, outlining the different hats the candidate may have to wear depending on your business’s needs. We also list general metrics that you can use to appraise your COO’s performance. Note that there are different COO performance metrics you can use to judge your COO’s effectiveness, and the ones you use will depend on your company or the industry in which you are operating.

Nonetheless, there are general metrics that deal with operations that you can use to judge your COO’s effectiveness. They are:

  • Employee turnover rate
  • Labor utilization
  • Operating margin
  • Operating cash flow
  • Cash conversion cycle

We also explain how you can set and evaluate the metrics. It is crucial that you inform your COO beforehand on the specific performance metrics you would be using to judge their effectiveness. After s(he) agrees, you may set a schedule for evaluation, such as a quarterly evaluation followed by a yearly one.

However, we didn’t stop here. We also explain what you can do if you are a startup looking for a COO to help with your company’s operations. We discuss when you should start thinking about hiring a COO, their roles, and whether you should hire from the inside or recruit from the outside.

Please click here for more insights into hiring a COO and evaluating their performance. 

5 Diversity Recruiting Strategies Used by the Fortune 500

The best team is composed of more than people who fit well together. Instead, it comprises diverse individuals who bring their unique experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives into the team.

Unfortunately, it is pretty hard to build a diverse team of individuals due to unclear company values, unconscious biases, and poorly written jobs postings. However, Fortune 500 companies seem to have cracked the code for diversity recruiting, and they use the following strategies to do so.

  • Adjusting screening and search practices: they go beyond internal hires or referrals and take a more active approach to diversity recruitment, such as partnering with impactful programs.
  • Developing early career and mentorship programs: they connect with young professionals eager to experience and connect with new companies in their field.
  • Increasing employee awareness about diversity and inclusion. This way, they make concentrated efforts to avoid bias decisions.
  • Updating company language, values, and goals to reflect the company’s emphasis on diversity and removing language that may be excluding particular groups of people.
  • Hiring diversity managers with extensive background experience and knowledge of diversity and inclusivity practices.

For the full article, please click here.

Top 10 Executive Positions in High Demand for 2021

With the global pandemic’s unprecedented impact on the business landscape in 2021, companies have uncovered a need to quickly pivot their business strategies and services to remain active and relevant. This restructuring has also impacted business leadership needs, as customers’ and employees’ demands have changed from what they used to be.

Thus, for a company to record growth and success in the post-pandemic era, the following 10 executive positions will be necessary.

  • Chief Executive Officer: while this role has always been fundamental within a company, the qualities and characteristics that make for a great CEO have changed. 
  • Chief Financial Officer: an effective CFO will help a business identify pivot points for new revenue streams and underperforming aspects of the business that could save the company money.
  • Chief Diversity Officer
  • Chief Growth Officer
  • Chief People Officer
  • Chief Public Health Officer
  • Chief Revenue Officer
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Vice President of Productivity and Remote Experience
  • Vice President of Sales Productivity

Please click here for more details on these executive positions and what they bring to a company.

The Making of a Private Equity Portfolio Company CEO

A 2017 survey by AlixPartners revealed that as many as 58 percent of private equity CEOs are replaced within the first two years of acquisition. A significant reason for this is that most CEOs hired or brought on during an acquisition do not meet the firm’s expectations. 

Unfortunately, switching CEOs after two years does not augur well for a PE firm’s return on investment, seeing that most PE acquisitions are only held for five to seven years. Thus, it is crucial to bring on the right person who will help the company’s success and profitability, and that person should have the following qualities:

  • Putting the team first: CEOs need a high-performing team, and to do that, they need to be team players themselves. They must be willing to delegate tasks and resist the urge to micromanage things. Also, a CEO that is a team player is more equipped to notice areas of improvement in the company because they are familiar with the department duties.
  • Being resilient: setbacks and roadblocks are expected occurrences with PE firms, and a CEO needs to be able to face these challenges and take them in stride. Additionally, they must be able to take negative results and work them toward viable solutions.
  • Being a strong communicator: open, straightforward communication is integral to motivating team members and ensuring everyone is on-target to reach company goals. Additionally, a good CEO must be able to communicate across all levels of management, both with PE investors and managing their teams.

You can find the full details in the article here.

The Importance of a General Counsel in a Private Equity Portfolio Company

Having an understanding of legal and ethical guidelines can help a company’s employees avoid unnecessary mistakes that create legal issues for the business. A general counsel can help educate employees on legal compliance and also help with handling other responsibilities.

A general counsel’s role includes the following:

  • Managing intellectual property issues
  • Handling corporate compliance and department communication standards
  • Educating employees on relevant laws and regulations so that they don’t run afoul of compliance issues
  • Strategic business planning, including sound risk assessment and advice on business strategy.

Private Equity portfolio companies will benefit significantly from having an in-house general counsel. Coordinating the company’s legal matters is a vital role that outside counsel may not manage properly. A private equity portfolio company should consider hiring a general counsel for the following reasons:

  • Complex industry regulations
  • Managing multiple sponsors
  • Going public

Please find more details on the benefits of hiring an in-house general counsel here.

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