We're a fast growing start up with global opportunities and a team of about 30. Managing ongoing Operations is too time consuming. Getting 'out there' building partnerships and evangelising is more my forte - although the product has a complexity that does often need some involvement on my part as I founded the concept (although I'm not a complete control freak). There's little doubt we need a COO to therefore enable scale. Due to varying challenging personal reasons, we're keen to exit in the next year - I don't want a lengthy earnout, and regardless, I need to 'step back' a bit in the meantime too. It's now been suggested I should hire a CEO - although have a dilemma - help!! If I hire a CEO - maybe we get a better person, but they also need the internal focus. It obviously will cost more (although there's always a small equity package) - I'm also concerned then that I'm much further removed from things (I want to do less / have external focus / hand over management, but still have some involvement). Advertising for a COO, gets a COO (hopefully) - but need to know they're fit for succession planning to be CEO. I also need to figure how the structure best works - does the CMO / CFO / CTO report into the COO (obviously yes, if hiring a CEO). I read somewhere it's bad to have a COO who manages all the others and there's an extra layer, although I think if done right, this could work - bearing in mind also that the objective here is to build the business to scale (giving me the chance to 'get out there' / exit / for succession planning. How about a happy medium - advertising for a COO with CEO aspirations? Any thoughts would be very helpful! Thank-you!
Simple: Hire for a Chief Operations Officer with experience in Strategic Account Management and or Direct Marketing. This can be in focused in your industry or depending on the individual in any industry as long as the experience and maybe educational background for your business model.
An executive leader, regardless of position, should not only be attentive to the future, it's hurdles and opportunities, but be able to couple them with current assets, resources and build upon whatever existing key customers you might currently have. In a COO these traits are more so mutually inclusive with at least a basic understanding of finance and economies of scale.
Check for culture fit and understanding of the product as part of screening process...