The increasing impact of corporate affairs interims

Interim hires for corporate affairs roles are nothing new.  But where in the past they have often been a little “business as usual”, pedestrian even, more and more are now expected to make a real impact, and frequently do.

As Forbes reports, the interim market is growing with 73% of interims reporting they were on assignments in January 2023 versus 55% in 2021, and 67% in 2022. Despite the growing numbers, the reasons for hiring an interim remain largely unchanged, from providing cover for parental leave or a permanent vacancy, to helping with specific projects like the annual report, or a new corporate identity.  But hiring managers increasingly expect more when they bring in an interim.

Beyond their specific skills and experience, the best interims bring diversity of thought, a strong work ethic and an outcome focused approach that positively challenge the status quo and energise those around them, and all above any internal politics.

CEOs, often impatient for change, need a Corporate Affairs Director they trust, and CADs need a team capable of delivering what needs to be done.  In one recent example, we helped the CEO of a large listed business to hire an interim CAD to make the changes immediately, rather than wait for a permanent appointment to serve their notice period and get up to speed.

We recently helped a major energy company to build capacity in their communications team quickly, following a merger and IPO.  Their Vice President of Communications said “the communications needs of the business went through the roof almost overnight. With support from Birchwood Knight we were able to hire a number of freelancers whose skills complimented those of our existing team and helped us as we developed the capability needed as a bigger firm.”

Another recent example involved us helping a global manufacturing company to recruit an interim Head of Public Affairs, a new role designed to elevate their engagement with political stakeholders in Brussels. We also assisted a FTSE100 with over 40,000 employees to hire an interim Head of Internal Communications and a global investment manager to hire an interim External Communications Lead.

If you are looking to hire an interim corporate affairs professional, or you are a communications freelancer looking for contract work, please contact Kate Dyer kdyer@birchwoodknight.com.

Birchwood Knight is a specialist executive search firm focused on corporate affairs leadership roles. We help CEOs hire their Chief Communications Officers and CCOs to build successful teams on an interim and permanent basis.

Kate Dyer is a Director at Birchwood Knight and regularly leads on interim corporate affairs appointments.

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19th September 2023

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