Ask a Recruiter: Finding a New CEO for a Family Business
Dear ACCUR Recruiting Services,
I recently took over a family business in furniture. We do business in both the high-end market and more value oriented retail. The business has been in my family for several generations and our operations are pretty well established. Though we have great relationships with our wholesale customers and retail partners, I’ve seen how successful our competitors are in e-commerce and I want to realize that growth for the company. We want to find a more growth-focused CEO who can work within a family business. What should I be looking for in this search?
ACCUR’s Answer: Focus on Flexibility and E-commerce Skills
The search for a CEO for a family business can be quite challenging. You’ll want someone who can work within existing structures while also keeping an entrepreneurial and growth-focused mindset.
We would therefore look for a candidate who has the following:
- Ability to thrive in a family business environment — someone who is able to navigate and respect established relationships, understand the company’s history and values, and be able to work collaboratively with the family and existing team members.
- Natural leadership and communication skills, and the ability to drive change when necessary.
- Passion for your industry. If they’re passionate about furniture and home decor, they’ll be better equipped to understand your customers and what they’re looking for.
This CEO candidate will ultimately be responsible for blending the traditional values of your business with a modern, digital focus to drive growth and success in today’s competitive marketplace.
Digital Skills for the CEO and other Key Hires Like VP of Marketing
You rightly mentioned e-commerce skills in your question, D.T.. These will be essential if you want to continue to grow your business. The following skills are what we would look for in a CEO candidate as well as key marketing hires:
- Digital Strategy: including the ability to develop, implement, and manage an effective online strategy that fits your business model and is flexible enough to adapt to changing market conditions. This includes understanding of e-commerce platforms, online sales strategies, customer relationship management systems, and data analytics.
- Platform experience: On the value side, we find it increasingly important to find executives with experience with Amazon and Houzz. Anyone who is in a business that has an e-commerce component — which means almost all consumer companies — needs to grapple with the way Amazon’s transformation of the e-commerce landscape is accelerating. A Director of E-commerce or VP of digital marketing should have a point of view in this area.
- Performance Marketing & Analytics Knowledge: Candidates should have knowledge of performance marketing strategies, including pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, conversion rate optimization (CRO), affiliate marketing, and email marketing.
- Content & Social Media Marketing: An understanding of content marketing strategies is important. They should be capable of overseeing the creation of engaging content across multiple platforms to attract and retain customers. This includes blogs, videos, social media posts, and more.
For your products in the luxury market, you might augment your team with a seasoned marketing VP or director with experience in the luxury and branding space. For this role we would likely look for someone with a track record in a global operation, in the same or a complementary industry.
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Edouard Thoumyre is a seasoned executive recruiter with over 17 years of experience in executive search, as the Founder and Managing Partner of ACCUR Recruiting Services. Specializing in the Consumer and Luxury Goods industries, he has a proven track record of placing senior level and C-level executives in family, private equity-backed, and Fortune 500 companies in the beauty, wine & spirits, watch & jewelry, home goods, and tobacco industries, among others. Edouard Thoumyre holds a master’s degree in Entrepreneurship from HEC Paris (#1 European Business School, Financial Times rankings) and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Centrale Lille (a top 10 French engineering school). ACCUR Recruiting Services has been recognized as a Forbes Top 100 executive search firm since 2018.
Edouard Thoumyre and his firm, ACCUR Recruiting Services, have been featured in numerous publications such as WWD, Business Insider, Newsweek, CPG Specialist, Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq.com, Marketplace by NPR, Business of Fashion…