Published March 2, 2021
What are your plans for succession? This is the question that led me to run my first-ever reverse board search, a process in which we place someone on the board of another organization.
For very senior, highly-qualified candidates, this is a strategic way to increase industry connections, operational knowledge, and high-level experience. These benefits are valuable to the candidate, but also to the company, especially when looking for someone to take the place of CEO when the time comes.
I developed the process and structure of a reverse board search and have seen the benefits first-hand. Here’s what you need to know about leveraging this opportunity as a company or senior executive.
Process and Structure of a Reverse Board Search
A reverse board search is simply an external placement of an individual on another company’s board of directors. In this process, we build a marketing campaign for the candidate and then market the candidate to companies that are of interest. Here are a few of the key steps we take to execute this search and place a qualified candidate.
Intake: We explore the executive’s background and goals to understand the best possible placement.
Develop: We develop a “board-ready” profile for the candidate to position them as an ideal person for the board to bring on.
Build: We identify target companies based on industry, size, location, and other pertinent details.
Prepare: We coach all parties on what to expect, questions to ask, and review the duties of everyone involved in the search and placement process.
Launch: We launch our executive search marketing campaign based on the intake valuation and target identifiers, I.E. industry and location.
Execute: We manage assessments and interviews and continually update on progress and status.
Pace: We are committed to maintaining our rigorous efforts through to the successful completion of the campaign.
Monitor: We continue to monitor the progress after a placement is made, including post-placement coaching and evaluation of results from all parties.
All fees for this campaign are paid for by the organization for which the candidate works. The company acts as their sponsor and the companies being marketed to do not have any expenses or fees.
Benefits of Reverse Board Search
There are extensive benefits for all parties involved in a reverse board placement, including the candidate, the candidate’s company, and the board. Consider the value for everyone involved when considering whether a reverse board search is right for you.
For the Company
For the Candidate
For the Board
A Reverse Board Search Benefits Everyone
Don’t overlook the benefits of a reverse board search, whether you’re a company or candidate looking to get placed. With clear benefits for each party, it’s a strategic way to gain contacts, create a succession plan, and show loyalty to senior employees who are ready to take on a larger role in the company.
Bernard Layton has over 27 years of mid-level and senior-level executive search experience within the Industrial, Engineering, Construction, Business Services, Consumer Products, Professional Services and Financial Services industries. Prior to founding Comhar Partners, he built and lead the Chicago office of Stanton Chase since 2008. Previously, Bernard operated his own search practice (Peoplenext, Nicholas Partners) for over 15 years, assisting both U.S. and multi-national clients with their senior management needs.