Category: News from InterSearch local companies

How to competently strengthen the Board of Directors?

To be complete and to add value to the company, the Board of Directors must include several independent directors. Therefore, when we talk about search, we mean search from outside, and not within the organization. The more independent directors there are, the more benefits the Board brings to the business.

There’s a paradox: there are many candidates wishing to be elected to the Board of Directors, but when you start getting to know the candidates, only a few remain. This is partly due to high requirements. But it is much more important that only a few understand what kind of work it is and are ready to get involved in the process itself.

To begin with, let’s list the basic requirements for the Board composition.

Digital competencies. A modern Board of Directors must have a professional “skilled in IT and digital”.

Knowledge of the e-commerce market and marketplaces. Even companies that previously had a very indirect relationship to the consumer market are now looking for strategists who understand what e-commerce is.

Flexibility and speed. Making decisions in a situation of uncertainty and instability is the task of any leader on the Board.

Experience. As a rule, you need managers who run a business of the same or larger size. Another fundamental point is the experience of each director in different industries and different companies.

Basic competencies of a manager. Of course, the key competencies are strategic thinking, understanding long-term consequences, stress resistance. A candidate for the Board of Directors is required to have a balance: on the one hand, the ability to make other people hear you; on the other, listen to others and be able to negotiate. And of course, the talent to motivate.

How to find such people and make the right choice?


Monitor successful cases, select according to the task facing the business, do not be afraid to change people on the Board more often. If a company undertakes an IPO, the Board definitely needs a CFO who has recently led such a process. Is the key goal of the company digital transformation? List companies of comparable size that have implemented a digitalization project, review their Boards of Directors. If there is no BoD, look at the CEO, Strategy Director, or business owner.

Look in other industries. If a Russian company is faced with the task of creating a new marketing strategy and strengthening the Board with a Head of Strategic Product Promotion, then the best candidates are from international FMCG corporations or Russian tech giants. But back to the first point: look at the companies that have done similar projects, and at the specific people who have implemented this and who have proven experience and practice.

The diversity principle works great for the Board of Directors: the more people with different views on the problem and different experiences there are on the Board, the more effective the body is. The Boards don’t need like-minded people who agree with each other.

Estimate the real-time the candidate is willing to spend on you. The main stereotype that we face is: “You get a lot of money, you spend several hours a year at meetings, you don’t really need to do anything.” In fact, every Board meeting requires hours of preparation, metrics analysis, digging in numbers, and some serious diving.


Ask the candidate the right questions right away:

1. “Why do you want to serve on the Board?”
Correct answer: “I am interested to participate in the strategy to move the company forward and apply my knowledge”.
2. “How much time are you willing to spend?”
If a person says that 4 meetings a year are 10 hours of his/her time, then this is not your person.

Be sure to evaluate. Flexibility, strategic thinking, stress resistance, leadership are excellently assessed by professional methods, primarily the Hogan and Talent Q questionnaires. The assessment and recommendations of other colleagues in the market should be a mandatory stage of selection to the Boards, which are still formed on the basis of acquaintance and friendship.

Look for the successful and wealthy. As practice shows, people who have already achieved financial well-being and have proven everything to themselves are ready for real outputs. They have a completely different motivation: they go to the Board not for the sake of money, but in order to apply their accumulated experience and knowledge and expand their horizons.

By Marina Tarnopolskaya, Managing Partner at Kontakt InterSearch Russia


Directors, Executive Search, InterSearch, InterSearch Worldwide, russia

Matching top FP&A talent with organizational needs

One senior leader at a global private equity firm once admitted to us that the financial planning and analysis (FP&A) in its portfolio companies was a disaster. He went on to explain that he and his firm-level colleagues were frequently swooping in to patch things up before eventually seeing the same problems crop up a month later.

 Who can blame him? Finding the right talent is incredibly challenging, given the fast-paced marketplace and often-inadequate systems which do not fully enable the necessary extraction of information for FP&A professionals to properly perform the functions of their roles.

 Meeting your team’s FP&A needs is one of the most difficult yet important responsibilities in every organization. Even more challenging? There is no template on how exactly to address those needs. Variables include the size of the business; where the business exists in its life cycle; the types of products produced and / or services offered (B2B vs. B2C); and the general needs of the organization.

Understandably, those general needs have evolved over the years as companies sometimes struggle to keep up. To help, we have identified three types of FP&A pros:


This is how FP&A has always been considered, but don’t mistake “traditional” for outdated. Many companies still need a CPA who comes from the Big Four Public Accounting Firms (Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PwC) and has a structured accounting background. This professional is needed to create spreadsheets and run macros to produce trend analysis, variance analysis and price-volume mix analysis. They essentially plan, monitor and report on revenue and expenses.

None of this seems cutting edge, but adequately satisfying those needs will result in meeting FP&A requirements in many companies. Businesses which are more mature and don’t have that “hockey-stick growth” don’t need a complex FP&A skill set, so a more traditional solution may be the most appropriate.


This is where most Charles Aris clients are today. Modern FP&A leaders not only have an accounting background (CPA) but a well-rounded business view (MBA) as well. They leverage more analytics and business intelligence technologies to provide quantitative / analytical support to decision-making. The modern approach takes the collective view of what needs to be done from a planning and analysis standpoint at the corporate level and incorporates each of the different business units.

Cutting edge

This individual has all the skill sets mentioned above and then some. In addition to being a CPA and MBA, the ideal professional is a computer and data scientist who leverages technology to create real-time analytics and dashboards and provides integrated and collaborative planning that spans the entire organization.


Finding the perfect FP&A candidate differs depending on the needs of each client organization. As the aforementioned private equity executive shared with us, matching the proper pool of talent with the right organization is a difficult task, but it can be done with expertise and experience behind the wheel.


by Ryan Morgan and David Portney

Charles Aris Inc.


charles aris, Executive Search, InterSearch, Top Talent

The pinnacle of a career: what to do when the maximum is reached?

Working with tops, more and more often we are confronted with a request: “Here I have reached the position of General / Commercial / HR Director, settled into that role and completed all the tasks – and that’s all, ceiling. I don’t understand what to do next.”

And they start asking questions: “Who am I? Why am I doing this? Am I in the right company? Maybe it’s time to change jobs? If so, where to go? And how not to lose or to regain a foothold? “.

Make a stop. The first piece of advice: stop and think about what your apathy and anxiety are really related to. What drove you to burnout, and is this really the maximum you are experiencing?

Professional coaches often help to get out of this state. Through dialogue, they can expand your picture of the world and look at your condition and problems in a different way (it may turn out that there is a great influence of your life outside the working path). Today, many successful top managers start working with coaches and career consultants long before the moment of burnout or the question of changing jobs comes. They work out their goals, dreams, write down their track and move along it in stages.

What is the next point?

Learn and learn again. Not so long ago, we conducted a study among owners and CEOs, who at one time decided to restart their careers and chose a new path of development. And we once again confirmed the assumption that those who do not stand still and are not afraid to sacrifice comfort for the sake of development, achieve success. You have to learn a lot to make a career change. Therefore, those top managers who support the lifelong learning trend, reveal their educational potential, study new approaches and technologies, achieve significant results and make the “reset” easier.

Top success factors from Owners and CEOs who restarted careers
34% Education, business schools
33% Network of colleagues and executive search companies
21% Support from loved ones
19% Financial cushion
14% Communication with a mentor / coach

Prioritize. Our survey confirmed that top managers often have to sacrifice certain things – comfort, income level, status, but in the end, no one regrets the choice they made, rather than the decision was not made in a timely manner.


42% of CEOs make a decision to leave within more than 2 years

So, think about what is more important to you now? Often, when leaving the CEO position (especially with a good income at the current place) into a new direction or own business, income decreases, and it can be restored only after 4-5 years. But at the same time, other important things of value are achieved: self-realization in a new business, recognition, drive from new tasks and disclosure of one’s potential.

So, ask yourself the question: Am I wasting my time? Maybe it’s time to make up your mind now and not put off until tomorrow?

Choose a further track for yourself. The experience of top managers who have gone through a career restart makes it clear that it is not enough to be open to new opportunities, you need to actively look for them and not be afraid to make decisions about changes.

This can be, for example, a transition to a larger company (and most top managers choose this path), or a vertical transition in the current company, or a transition to another industry. You can try yourself in interim projects or take part in the Board of Directors, which will also provide an opportunity to develop strategic skills, enrich your knowledge and experience, and draw new ideas. Another option is to start your own business. Risk? Yes. But when to try, if not now? After all, a crisis is the moment when the market is being rebuilt and there is an opportunity to come out with a new product that will satisfy new needs.

Most believe that now, during the pandemic and crisis, is not the best time to change jobs. But there are segments that continue to actively develop, for example, food retail, e-commerce, medicine, hi-tech and fintech, and it is normal practice to move from segment to segment, as well as to attract people with entrepreneurial experience to the team.

And remember: no matter where you are, only an engaged leader who is doing something that gives him energy and drive, can motivate the team and move the company to new achievements!

By Daria Tulubenskaya, Partner at Kontakt InterSearch Russia, Board director of InterSearch Worldwide


Career, Executive Search, InterSearch, InterSearch Worldwide, russia

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