Category: Industry Insights

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

Released: The Four Corners Group 2021 Consumer Products Talent Report

Examining the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on Canadian food, health and consumer goods companies and their employees.

In 2020, food, health and consumer goods companies were at the centre of a very real and terrifying crisis that hit our country (and the rest of the world) without warning.  Multiple compounding factors put our entire food and health supply network, our country, and its people at risk.  We wanted to know, how did this impact the businesses, the people behind the scenes, and what are leaders focussed on in 2021 and beyond?

Consumer Goods, Executive Search, Four Corners Group, InterSearch, report

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Construction World (Byggvärlden) interviews Talentia – InterSearch Sweden CEO, Klas Karlsson

The biggest concern is that companies do not dare to hire juniors and that we get a “lost generation” and a skills gap in the industry like the one after the real estate crisis of the 1990s.

This is what Klas Karlsson, founder and CEO of the recruitment company Talentia, says, who has noticed changing recruitment patterns during the corona pandemic.

The corona crisis has changed the labour market in several ways. Many employees have been either laid off on a short-term basis or made redundant. According to Arbetsförmedlingen (Swedish Public Employment service) statistics, a total of 97,923 persons have been notified of termination during the period 1 March-6 September 2020. Of these, 4,872 work in construction.

Many companies are waiting to recruit new employees during the crisis.

What worries me is that companies don’t bring in so many beginners, while the most inexperienced, with the shortest employment, who is made redundant first. There is a risk that we will have a skills gap similar to after the property crisis in the 1990s” says Klas Karlsson, CEO and founder of Talentia, which works with executive search in the civil engineering industry.

The crisis has hit the civil engineering industry differently. New construction of housing has had a tougher time than the construction side, which has barely noticed the crisis and with the Swedish Transport Administration as a strong client.

The crisis has also affected the workers’ side. Many employees choose to sit still in the boat when the labour market is uncertain.

Especially on the specialist side, you don’t want to step out in a worse order position. On the managerial side, recruitments are still being made. It’s a slightly lower activity, but managers are still open to listening to the right offers” says Klas Karlsson.

During a crisis period, many companies shy away from letting in rookies.

Many companies would rather spend six months looking for an experienced person than teaching someone less experienced.”

According to Klas Karlsson, the civil engineering industry must dare to become less dependent on the super-professionals.

We need to protect a continuous influx of younger and recent graduates so as not to lose skills to other industries. Another consequence of the situation in the labour market is that when the less experienced employees at a workplace are laid off, the more experienced staff are also allowed to do tasks that require less experience. A political reconnaissance is that the layoff support is wrong. Companies do not have a shortage of jobs – but a lack of paying customers. The support is good in the short term, but in the long term companies are losing development.”

Klas Karlsson also notes that the manager has missed out on an effective tool when the staff is laid off. The overtime tool disappears when the staff have worked their hours according to the layoffs.

This is striking in deadline-driven work. For many smaller companies, it will be a moment 22 when time is needed to win business and push revenues back up and running in order for the layoffs to be released. Instead, that time is spent renovating at home with almost full pay or playing golf.

The corona pandemic has naturally changed the managerial role. The companies have had to spend a lot of time on corona strategies. The managers who have been good at pushing through these strategies remain.

Leadership is incredibly important, and those who show decisiveness are not getting rid of it. A manager who has now acted safely and stably can go from “hanging loose” to getting a second chance.”

A new challenge for many Construction managers during the pandemic has been to lead remotely.

Delivery is easier than business development remotely. When it comes to driving sales and finding new projects, it can be more difficult to be creative remotely and the need to meet becomes greater” says Klas Karlsson.

The crisis has also acted as a catalyst. Corona has made things happen, things that were already underway, such as pushing through changes or laying off staff.

The manager has been able to hide behind the corona, and is not considered as harsh when the decisions are the result of the crisis. Perhaps you take the opportunity to get rid of skills that do not have the future ahead of you.

Klas Karlsson’s advice to companies in times of crisis is to dare to invest in recruitment and training so that you stand strong when it turns around.

During the pandemic, a service and renovation debt has been built up, which means that there will be a lot of pressure on, for example, the installation side.”

Executive Search, InterSearch, InterSearch Sweden, InterSearch Worldwide, Talentia AB

Is Green the New Black?

InterSearch Worldwide considers the impact of the green revolution – solar-powered by newly elected President of the USA – on the talent market.

by Harris Karaolides, InterSearch Energy & Renewable Energy Practice Leader

Harris Karaolides
Harris Karaolides

Across the globe we are all feeling the effects of climate change and the inaction of world leaders – on our health, finances, and overall quality of life. The coronavirus pandemic, which emerging research suggests is aggravated by air pollution, has shed new light on this reality.

While the Trump administration favoured the oil and gas industry, Biden’s team will also be paying significant attention to renewable energy. Biden’s policies respect the incontrovertible scientific evidence that swift and robust action is required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid serious socio-economic consequences.  He has pledged to build a more resilient, sustainable, clean energy economy to meet the 2050 Paris Agreement deadline.

Trump described Biden’s focus on climate change as a recipe for economic devastation, accusing him of risking millions of American jobs. However, Biden has promised a clean energy revolution that creates millions of unionised middle-class jobs. His vision requires policy makers and clean-energy companies to replace the number of fossil-fuel jobs that could be lost in the transition from coal and oil.

According to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, salary and benefits in the wind and solar power industries, fundamental to a clean energy transition, lag those in oil, gas and coal. Once established, solar and wind energy installations usually require less staff to maintain than oil and gas infrastructure, and both industries rely on imported components to keep costs low, potentially affecting job creation. However, Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan, relatively double the cost to put the first man on the moon, not only envisions a measured transition, it also intends to create jobs across a variety of other sectors, including construction, power transmission, electric vehicle manufacturing, and charging infrastructure.

Commenting specifically on the automotive sector, Malena Juárez, Regional Leader Americas Energy & Renewables Practice Group of InterSearch, says:

Malena Juárez
Malena Juárez

“Biden’s climate and clean energy plan will have a direct impact in different industrial sectors, one of them the automotive industry. His project will include building a strong structure of skilled trades like engineering workers in order to help make the clean energy economy possible. Electric vehicle manufacturing could be particularly attractive to those countries with a currently high dependency on oil imports and a positive electricity trade balance.  Of course, one important factor is both the development and variation in the price of oil vs. electricity in the different countries.”

The Biden administration acknowledges the possibility of initial growing pains as the nation transitions to a cleaner energy infrastructure, but his plan includes retraining and other support for traditional fossil fuel workers who might be affected.

While workers are eager to retrain to escape “black gold’s” boom-and-bust cycles, recently evidenced during the pandemic as people drive and fly less, some are concerned about the lower salaries in the renewable energy industry. However, salaries are likely to increase automatically as the renewable energy sector grows, becomes unionised and is pressured to attract more workers. Jobs such as wind technicians and solar panel installers are the first and third fastest growing positions, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, and electric vehicles and other related industries are powering ahead led by visionaries such as Elon Musk.

In fact, some analysts and economists believe that Wall Street’s increasing investment in the renewable energy sector has the potential to provide more jobs than any fossil fuel industry. Says Ana Ber, Regional Leader Central & Eastern Europe Energy & Renewables Practice Group of InterSearch:

Ana Ber
Ana Ber

“Jobs in renewable energy can be created directly and indirectly along the entire value chain, including in the manufacturing and distribution of equipment; the production of inputs such as chemicals; or even in services like project management and operation. We all should be aware that the success of implementing green policies is dependent on the availability of skilled people. With the green revolution just starting, upskilling and reskilling are indispensable and companies as well as governments must take responsibility for this. To implement such a program you need a clear strategy and answering key questions, such how to finance it. In Europe we already see some initiatives, for example Enel in Romania including upskilling in their CSR program, and the CSR Europe/JP Morgan initiative ‘Upskill 4 Future’ which launched pilot projects in Spain, Italy, France and Poland.“

The agricultural sector will also likely benefit from jobs through the increased harvesting of feedstock and other biomass, and roles related to natural pesticides, efficient land management and aquaculture.

Improved energy supply through renewable sources, as opposed to diminishing traditional fuels, will contribute to the expansion of existing economic activities in other sectors, and jobs in renewable energy production involve less hazardous working conditions. This not only means additional jobs, but better quality jobs.

Indraneel Dass
Indraneel Dass

“Biden will be keen to push for exports of energy as USA is largely self-sufficient in energy, and this will augur well for fighting climate change at a global level, this is the need of the hour and he will lead from the front on this aspect,”

comments Indraneel Dass, Regional Leader Asia Energy & Renewables Practice Group of InterSearch.

The executive search & recruitment industry is observing the rise of new training programmes and roles pertaining to energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage, energy trading, green manufacturing and construction, environmental specialities, public transportation and recycling. Just as the digital revolution created brand new jobs such as Data Analyst, Scrum Master, and Digital Strategist, so too is the green revolution sprouting job titles such as Soil Planning Specialist and Environmental Protection Manager. And, of course, there is the question of corporate leadership:


Jan Oinaes
Jan Oinaes

“How do you recruit senior people for an industry that hasn’t been around long enough to have enough senior people in it? This is what our clients are asking” Jan Oinaes, Regional Leader North & Western Europe Energy & Renewables Practice Group of InterSearch.“ That’s where an executive search firm with a proven deep understanding of the sector can really add value.”

Amid a devastating pandemic and economic calamity, the 2020 U.S. election is the first in history with climate change playing a role; a trend that will no doubt permeate the rest of the world. While some may continue to argue the expense of addressing global warming; the devastating costs of leaving climate change unchecked can be considered much more so.

InterSearch Worldwide is a leading global executive search organization. Established in 1989, InterSearch ranks as one of the top international executive search organizations in the world, with more than 90 offices in over 50 countries. Through a network of partner firms and their breadth of knowledge and expertise, InterSearch provides clients with access to exceptional candidates anywhere across the globe, with experienced locally based consultants in each individual market.


Are you facing challenges recruiting top-notch talent for the Renewable Energy sector anywhere in the world? Please contact Harris Karaolides on +971 50 5502701 for more information on how InterSearch Worldwide can help.

Energy, Energy and renewable energies, Oil & Gas and Renewables Practice Group

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