Interim management

The rise of the hired gun C-suite

April 15, 2011: 10:02 AM ET

Why hire a full-time executive when you can just rent one? More and more companies are turning to interim execs to fill gaps in leadership and expertise.

By Stephenie Overman, contributor

FORTUNE -- They ride into town, close down a division or oversee an acquisition, then move on. Just don't call them temps.

Interim executives, according to those in the field, are professional problem solvers who "make something happen," says Robert M. Kuhn, partner in charge of North American Operations for EIM.

"The people we bring [to a company] are C-suite people. Very senior. People who have been chief finance officer, head of R&D, HR, legal. People who have long and deep experience. There's no learning curve" when they take on an assignment, Kuhn says.

Interim management firms such as his "are not houses that deal in bodies," Kuhn says. Temp firms fill slots for a daily rate, while interim management firms have individuals who can respond to a client's need "over and above the day-to-day situation. It's driven by some type of urgency. We fix a problem, come in, put out a fire, resolve a crisis." More

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