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Why more Corporate Leaders are Transitioning to Interim Consulting

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What is causing the movement toward interim consulting? Is it an overhang of the financial services industry’s slow rebound or a sign we have finally come to accept flexible working?

Whatever the reason, there is a distinct uptick in the number of senior leaders exiting their corporate careers and making themselves available as independent consultants. It used to be you “fell into interim” because the right permanent role was not available and it allowed you to continue working. Today, we are seeing more senior leaders consciously decide to leave their corporate careers much earlier.

Switching to engage work as an independent consultant enables senior professionals to continue in their chosen fields without the pressures of corporate life. They want to contribute, but in no way be seen as a threat to the organisational structure or day-to-day management. An interim arrangement can be as flexible as the two parties desire, allowing the business to have access to expertise on an agile basis.  

"My personal experience of working on an interim basis was more positive and rewarding than I expected. Throughout, I felt just as engaged, motivated and productive as when I worked on a permanent basis, but being an interim consultant there was the added bonus of more freedom and having full charge of my career and working relationships"

Thea Fforde, Consultant acting as Head of Compliance

Some clients we work with are initially sceptical of hiring someone who is “too senior for the role” and question why an experienced professional would leave a high-profile position for a “lesser role.” In actuality, the primary driver for many interim consultants is just the desire for more free time. Becoming a consultant removes the burdens of long, gruelling days at the office and extensive travel. This frees up their time so they can provide strategic input and value without the pressures of corporate life.

Departing leaders have the opportunity to take a “portfolio approach” with other interim consultants, encouraging clients to review their needs and approach the engagement differently. For example, are they really needed in the office five days a week? How could access to seasoned leadership add value on a by-project basis?

Clients then have on-going access to senior expertise without the cost of a full week and the pressure of finding appropriate levels of work for them.

For many, they enter interim consulting is often to take up or continue with other interests or to involve themselves in consulting work that is not directly aligned to their chosen field. Some see consulting as an opportunity to build their network and breadth of experience with the ultimate aim to create a Non-executive Director portfolio. 

Often overlooked in the transition from corporate leadership to interim consulting is the emphasis on retaining your network, which may not be something you particularly enjoy doing. Those who focus on building their network see much greater success in interim consulting than those who shy away from the task.  

Interim consulting allows for an arrangement that benefits both the client and the leader mutually and may be worth considering as leaders approach the later years of their careers.  

To discuss further please contact:

Elizabeth Roberts at [email protected] or +44 (0)20 7236 2400


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