Leadership at a crossroad in the face of multiple crises

Welcome to Robert Half’s Boardroom Navigator 2023, which highlights the specific set of skills and experience executive leadership teams and boards of directors in Europe need to manage a business through today's and tomorrow's challenges. The report, based on a survey of 400 members of executive leadership teams and boards of directors, as well as 50 private equity investors, reveals that businesses are in a state of flux and need certain skills to be able to manage change successfully.

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Leadership at a crossroads

Key findings: how to thrive in 2023 and beyond

In the Boardroom Navigator, our Executive Search Managing Directors across Europe explore the trends shaping executive leadership and business transformation. They reveal:

  • why environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues can’t be neglected, alongside diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
  • how succession planning can be taken more seriously
  • which skills executive leaders need to navigate rough economic waters
  • why investors won’t hesitate to make executive changes at their portfolio companies
  • what really matters during the first twelve months in a C-suite role – to ensure long-term, sustainable success

Investors are looking for new leaders

Multiple crises, from pandemic-driven supply chain disruption to geopolitical tensions and inflation, have tested a generation of C-suite leaders. They are learning and adapting fast, and private equity investors are on the lookout for those with crisis management experience to lead their businesses. 64% of PEs plan C-level changes to better position their portfolio companies for current and upcoming crises.

Succession planning and onboarding are falling short

The recruitment process and handover to new leaders are important, but many businesses have yet to put plans in place. The Board of Directors will have to reflect on their investment in succession planning. A structured approach to leadership development will ultimately pay long-term dividends.

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Robert Half commissioned UK-based Rigour Research Ltd to conduct an online survey in Q1 2023 across Europe among 400 members of executive leadership teams and board of directors, as well as 50 private equity investors who are responsible for, or involved in, hiring decisions at senior executive level of their portfolio companies. Respondents from executive leadership teams and boards of directors are selected from a wide range of commercial areas and represent businesses with at least 50 employees. All respondents come from Belgium, France, Germany and the UK.

The results from this survey were paired with insights from the following Managing Directors Executive Search at Robert Half: Fabrice Coudray, Philip Hendrickx, Veronique Elskens, Daniel Vergara Gonzalez, Charlie Grubb, and René Amrhein.