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“Shortage of CEOs to meet economic growth” MTI Exec-Search

Comments / 1109 Views / Tuesday, 9 September 2014 02:06

According to a recent regional study by MTI Executive Search, Sri Lanka’s specialist head hunter for CEO and senior managerial positions, the country is facing a shortage of CEOs to meet the rapid economic growth it is experiencing. According to Darshan Singh, MTI’s Regional HR Consultant, “It is not uncommon for fast emerging economies to encounter this syndrome, as we have seen in the last decade in markets as diverse as Indonesia, Turkey and Mauritius. However, the key is to work on proactive strategies to bridge this gap in a sustainable manner and be prepared for further economic acceleration.” MTI Executive Search has recommended four strategies to help Sri Lanka effectively meet its growing need for CEOs and senior managerial positions. “Our corporate experience in Sri Lanka shows that we have a ‘pool’ young professionals in their mid to late 30s, who are capable of stepping into CEO positions, however, are being held back by a multitude of largely perception and cultural barriers such as: ‘the old boys club’, ‘the silver hair syndrome’ and ‘family cronyism’. The appointment of Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya as Dialog’s CEO in the late 90s is an excellent example of how this barrier was broken. More recently, the appointment of young CEOs at J. L. Morison and Triumph (both alumni of MTI) augurs well for aspiring CEOs,” said Hilmy Cader, Bahrain-based CEO of MTI. According to Darshan Singh, who has extensive head hunting experience across Asia and Africa, encouraging Sri Lankan expatriates to return (as we saw with the reverse brain-drain in India) can bring in much needed international experience to a fast growing economy, while still maintaining the local spirit and appreciation of the culture. According to Cader, the third and inevitable mid-term option would be to hire non-Sri Lankan expatriates, but do so on short term contract and with an attractive end of term bonus linked to the KPI of ensuring next level in the organisation is ready to take over. “For a fast growing economy, there is always value in getting international CEOs and learning from their diverse cross-border experience, but ensuring that it also enhances succession planning,” Cader said. Focused executive education combined with mentoring is MTI’s fourth recommended strategy. MTI also quotes the example of how retired CEOs, on a very selective basis, can be used as mentors cum coaches for young CEOs, of course without stifling them.

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