Executive Outlook – June 2021

Market Returning to Normal Seasonal Hiring Patterns in Executive Openings and Executive Appointments

Lead5 tracks executive openings and executive appointments for leading US based companies. Analysis for Lead5 April and May 2021 data shows executive openings down 11% compared to Q1 2021. This is the normal seasonal exec hiring pattern as January through March and September through November historically show higher levels of executive hiring. The market has bounced back to this normal pattern, for example YOY comparison with the effects of Covid the market last year was down 24% for the same time period. Executive appointments for April and May held steady down just 3% compared to Q1 2021 vs the YOY comparison which was down 20% last year.

How does this translate for executives actively or passively seeking new opportunities? The market is solid and has bounced back into a historical pattern of executive search flows. The summer months will yield less activity leading to more active openings and appointments in the fall months of late Q3 and early Q4.

Now is the time to research and prepare a pro-active strategy for your next executive career move. Join Lead5 today to stay connected to ever-changing market intel from the Lead5 community. Familiarize yourself with the Indicators of Management Changes, How to Best Approach Executive Recruiters, How to Best Approach In-House Corporate Recruiters, and Sample Email Templates to Send Direct to Hiring Managers.

Executive Outlook – April 2021

Increasing activity for Q1 2021 for Executive Openings and Executive Appointments

Lead5 tracks executive openings and executive appointments for leading US based companies. Analysis for Lead5 Q1 data for 2021 shows a 17% increase quarter-over-quarter in executive openings and a 28% increase quarter-over-quarter in executive appointments. Year-over-year Lead5 shows executive openings still down 27% from Q1 2020 data, but we are seeing a steady climb back up from the low point of Q3 2020 off of Covid shutdowns where executive openings were down over 40%.

What does this all mean for executives actively or passively seeking new opportunities? The market has upward momentum and looks to continue climbing in terms of openings and appointments. Now is the time to stay connected and pro-active on what is happening in the market for executive opportunities. Familiarize yourself with the Indicators of Management Changes and join the Lead5 community to share insights and gain market intel from fellow members.

Lead5 Analysis of Public Company Executive Salary Reductions

Lead5 Analysis of Public Company Executive Salary Reductions

As we have now entered week four of the economic lock-down caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic, the economy is approaching record levels in unemployment as U.S. companies scramble to navigate the crisis. Lead5, the Executive Career Platform, has analyzed public company filings to produce a detailed view of how executive management teams are handling executive compensation in response to the economic crisis.

The first red flag and the turbulent weeks that followed

On March 16, Lead5 observed that Ashford Inc. announced salary reductions for its leadership team.  Ashford Inc. is a small cap company based in Dallas, Texas that provides asset management services to the hospitality industry, so it is no surprise that they took swift action ahead of the brutal hit to their industry sector. Three days later, two more public companies made salary reduction announcements, Darden Restaurants and Hersha Hospitality. Darden is the large cap holding company for familiar consumer brands such as Olive Garden & Longhorn Steakhouse, and Hersha is a small cap hospitality REIT.

What followed over the next three weeks is a cascade of salary reduction announcements from over 150 public companies across all industry sectors with more being added on a daily basis. Below are summaries of the average reductions of executive salary by management teams and market cap, along with data broken out by industry sector and region.

Average Executive Salary Reduction by Company Size for Senior Management Teams

  • All Companies, All Market Caps = 30%
  • Large Cap Only = 39%
  • Mid Cap Only = 29%
  • Small Cap Only = 26%

Average CEO Salary Reduction by Company Size

  • All Companies, All Market Caps = 50%
  • Large Cap Only = 71%
  • Mid Cap Only = 45%
  • Small Cap Only = 41%

Average Executive Salary Reduction by Industry Sectors

  • Consumer 48%
  • Industrial 24%
  • Healthcare 12%
  • Technology 10%
  • Financial 6%

Average Executive Salary Reduction by Headquarters Regions

  • Southeast 23%
  • Midwest 20%
  • West 18%
  • Southwest 17%
  • Mid-Atlantic 16%
  • New England 6%   

How long will these reductions continue? 

The most common reported durations for these salary reductions are until June 30th, 2020 followed by September 30th, 2020. A number of companies stated the executive team salary reductions will remain in place until the board determines the Covid-19 crisis is over. Several companies included a reduction or elimination of board retainer fees for the duration of the crisis.  Notably, of roughly half of the large cap announcements, CEOs have forgone 100% of their respective salaries. These overall findings represent just a fraction of the total public companies in the U.S., so we anticipate continued ongoing announcements.

This Lead5 analysis is based on 153 public company filings between March 16 and April 9, 2020. Lead5 will continue to analyze and report as new filings occur.

 

Visit: Lead5, the Executive Career Platform

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Boost Your Executive Opportunities by 200%

Boosting your executive opportunities by 200% is easier than you think.

Are you an executive who is seeking ways to increase your market exposure?   The good news is that it’s easier than you think.   From placing top executives in leading firms for over two decades, here is a trap to avoid and a tactic that is proven to work:

  • Trap to avoid: many execs I consult with rely solely on their own professional network to seek new opportunities or they select a few executive recruiters they have come in contact with over the years.  While it’s smart for you to tap into this network, you must realize that this represents only a small fraction of available opportunities.
  • Best method: I emphasize to my executive clients the need to be proactive.  This means researching and discovering the companies and opportunities that fit your background and marketing yourself directly to those company’s key contacts. It also means marketing yourself to the relevant industry or functional practice sector consultants at all the major, regional, and boutique executive search firms, not just the select firms you know from the past.
  • How can you start today? My company Lead5 offers comprehensive lists of companies that you can filter by position, region, company size, industry, and ownership structure.  This list, combined with Lead5’s intel of executive departures, yields companies that are strong candidates for your outreach. Lead5 also maintains an executive recruiter database of the leading US-based retained search consultants for firms of all sizes, sortable by the Lead5 filters.
  • Start small, think big. If you deployed this proactive methodology, even sending only one outreach per week, you are exponentially increasing your chances of being discovered.

To wrap this up, I encourage you to take a proactive role in your career.   This is the best way to maximize your value in the marketplace.  I see too many executives waiting on a phone call from a recruiter or over-relying on their own professional network.   By expanding your comfort zone, you are positioning yourself for career growth and stability.

Lead5 Executive Empowerment Center

Welcome to the Lead5 Executive Empowerment Center

Hello, Josh Wimberley here, CEO and founder of Lead5 – The Executive Career Platform.  I wrote this blog to help you elevate your executive career by highlighting the 5 dimensions that successful executives must master.  It’s also intended to be a reference guide for Lead5 members to help them get the most value from the platform.   I have broken this information into 6 modules.    Please email me anytime with your feedback or if I can assist you in any way!   josh@lead5.com

Your partner in success,

Josh Wimberley

Module 1: Unveiling the Hidden C-Level Career World

Before forming Lead5, I led the largest executive search firm’s CFO practice. In over two decades, I have helped 100’s of C-level executives just like you advance their careers and achieve their goals.  As such, allow me to share some important C-level recruiting insights that you were probably unaware of:

– Most of what you think about managing your executive career is wrong because most of the key information is hidden.   This hidden information includes: job opportunities, insider intel, and meaningful ways to network.  I formed Lead5 to unlock those doors and I will be covering these elements in more detail in this blog.

– The proactive executive always has the edge on new opportunities.  As an executive, you have been trained to wait on a recruiter’s call that may never come.  You’re also probably relying too heavily on your personal network.  These approaches provide you with only a fraction of the total opportunities available to you. Through a combination of AI, dedicated research teams, and crowd-sourcing, Lead5 provides you with instant access to hidden executive jobs, expanding your universe of opportunities.

– Your openness to relocation is a critically important variable for your success. Most c-levels will move multiple times over the course of their careers, and an unwillingness to relocate will ultimately hold you back in your career. Lead5 helps you find opportunities worth the move, wherever you are.

– A ‘full-cycle career plan’ is your means to continue your success in today’s challenging economic climate, and Lead5 is built around the 5 dimensions that comprise this career strategy.  Executives are often so maximized in their current role that they think about their career through only 2 dimensions: managing their current role and then scrambling to find their next one, and often, when it’s too late.   You must understand that it typically takes 4-6 months for executives to find their next opportunity, and this is during strong economies.   The Lead5 Executive Community keeps you connected throughout your career life cycle with thoughtful insights and discussion, expanded opportunities and key contacts.

Lead5 Is Built Around the Following 5 Dimensions That Successful Executives Must Master:

1.  Proactive Opportunity Outreach

2. Continuous Networking

3. Honing Your Skill Set

4. Connecting with Peers

5. Establishing Yourself as a Thought Leader

Because this 5-dimension full-cycle career plan is so important, we offer a complimentary phone consultation to help you develop this approach.  To set up this up, please contact me: josh@lead5.com

Module 2: Personalize Lead5 and Maximize Your Results

My5 is the name of Lead5’s search filters that you will set to deliver to you personalized open opportunities and career intel on the Lead5 Platform.   My5 consists of the 5 company attributes that most C-level executives consider as they pursue their next opportunity.

The My5 components are:

1. Function

2. Industry

3. Region

4. Market Cap

5. Ownership Structure

Once you’ve set your My5 filters, you will see focused opportunities and intel in your dashboard, and you can quickly apply these filters in the section called “Jobs & Intel.”

As your search criteria changes, remember to keep your My5 filters up to date so that Lead5 can work for you optimally.

My5 Search Filters are located at top of all Lead5 web pages:

 

My5 Search Filters: Simple check boxes give you complete control:

Tip: Expand the plus symbol (+) for more granular filters.

My5 Search Filters personalize your dashboard view:

Apply your My5 Search Filters with 1 click:

By selecting “Apply My5”, you quickly surface relevant intel when browsing.

Module 3:  ‘Potential’ and ‘Verified’ Opportunities on Lead5: What’s the Difference?

To maximize your total universe of opportunities for your outreach, Lead5 offers two types of opportunities – ‘potential opportunities’ and ‘verified opportunities.’  Here’s what you should know about these.

Potential Opportunity – This means that Lead5 has discovered that a company will likely be looking to fill an opening soon.   Not every potential opportunity evolves into an actual opening, but potential opportunities have significant value because candidates can enter a potential job search at the earliest possible moment, increasing their likelihood of being discovered.

– How to Pursue Potential Opportunities: We advise members to reach-out to a ‘recommended contact’ that we provide and make an introduction.

Remember: making a connection is always the first step to landing an executive role.  Even if a potential opportunity doesn’t pan out, making a positive impression expands your network and could open up new doors in the future.

Verified Opportunity – This means that Lead5 has uncovered intel that a company is actively seeking to fill this role.

– How to Pursue Verified Opportunities:  We advise members to reach out to the recommended contact and/or recruiter. In some cases, an application link is provided. At a minimum, you should strive to make a connection and broaden your executive network.

Action: Once you’ve identified an opportunity to pursue – whether potential or verified – click the “Pursue Opportunity” button on the opportunity details view.  This will trigger theLead5 Advisor’ which will make a recommendation on the best approach.

Here’s an example opportunity:

Most of our opportunities are unlisted, meaning there’s no online application. Once you click the “Pursue This Opportunity” button, it launches the Lead5 Advisor to organize your steps.

The Lead5 Advisor:

The “Lead5 Advisor” Provides Action Steps

When launched, the Lead5 Advisor gives you specific guidance, recommended contacts, email templates, and more — everything you need to pursue opportunities of any type.

Additionally, we provide suggested email outreach templates to help guide your messaging to the suggested contact(s).

Module 4: Use Your Lead5 Playbook to Maximize Your Productivity

A full cycle career approach includes proactive outreach and continuous networking.  To perform these tasks effectively, we built the Lead5 Playbook to help you organize your activities and store important data.

Your Lead5 Playbook helps you track, plan, and organize:

– Opportunities you wish to pursue in the future

–  Opportunities you’ve already pursued

– Contacts you wish to reach out to

– Phone call notes

– Future scheduled activities

Here is a My Playbook example:

Your time is valuable.  By using your Lead5 Playbook, you can maximize your productivity on Lead5.com.

Module 5: Harness Lead5’s Intel to Elevate Your Career

Utilizing insider intel is key to your executive success.   Lead5 offers actionable intel that will help you in every stage of your career life cycle.   This intel can be found in the ‘jobs & intel’ and in the ‘community’ sections on Lead5.com.

Verified Opportunity – This means that Lead5 has uncovered intel that a company is actively seeking to fill this role.

Action: You can pursue this role or make important connections with key company contacts.

Potential Opportunity – This means that Lead5 has discovered that a company will likely be looking to fill an opening soon.  Not every potential opportunity evolves into an actual opening, but potential opportunities have significant value because candidates can enter a potential job search at the earliest possible moment, increasing their odds of being discovered.

Action: You can pursue this role or make important connections with key company contacts.

Executive Moves: typically covers executive appointments which indicates a near term executive hiring (example: CEO will soon be appointed and will seek to build his/her team).  These executive appointments all signal potential changes in vendors and suppliers.

Action: This is a perfect moment for you to make a connection.

The Lead5 Executive Community: here you can exchange intel with an exclusive membership base comprised of your executive peers.   These intel focal points are: opportunities, career insights, and career best practices.

Action: This is a forum where you can establish yourself as a thought leader, hone your skills, and connect with peers in a meaningful way.

Private Equity Deals: represent acquisitions or assumption of a controlling interest in a portfolio company.  These deals indicate near-term C-level executive hiring flows, new growth capital, and potential changes in vendors and suppliers.  Most PE-backed companies replace the executive team in the first 6 months of the deal closing.

Action: This is a perfect moment to make a connection to the PE deal partner while new leadership teams are being formed.

Module 6:  Connect With The Lead5 Executive Community

Connecting with peers and establishing yourself as a thought leader are important fundamentals to achieving full cycle executive career success.   In an economic environment that is increasingly isolated, we have received feedback from members who have expressed a desire to connect and contribute.  In response, we recently launched The Lead5 Executive Community to help you exchange information with our exclusive network of top executives and executive career experts.

This information includes:

– Member-Contributed Opportunities

– Career-empowering insights

– C-level best practices

It only takes one opportunity, insight, or connection to elevate your career or the career of one of your peers.   As the Lead5 Executive Community continues to grow, our members will reap the benefits.

Here are some specific ways that you can benefit and contribute:

Ask a confidential career question on our message board and receive insights from peers and the Lead5 leadership team who has decades of experience in executive recruiting and executive career management

Submit an opportunity that may not be the right fit for you

Provide impactful insights that helps your peers and establishes yourself as a thought leader

Participation is completely voluntary and you have the option to provide information under your name or anonymously.

I hope this blog has been useful to you.  Please email me anytime with your feedback or questions.   josh@lead5.com

Your partner in success,

Josh Wimberley

Lead5 CEO

6 Ways for Executives to Elevate Their Careers

Congratulations, you have made it to the C-Suite. You landed your dream job that acknowledges your past professional accomplishments and provides lucrative financial rewards. After celebrating your new milestone, the furthest thing from your mind is to plan the next phase of your career strategy. However, in a dynamic job market, it’s critical that you are continually planning the next move so that in 3 to 5 years you can continue to grow.

By being proactive, and not reactive, in your career strategy will put you and your family in a position of strength and stability, whereas being reactive will mean that you’re acting from a position of weakness which puts you and your family at risk.   Being proactive entails looking for opportunities to strengthen your skills, visibility, and relationships and that’s what this blog is about.

I recently caught up with Lead5 advisory board member Bob Collins who has 3 decades of executive leadership in human resources, including leading staffing at top international brands.  He shared with me 6 ways to ensure that you are always operating from a position of strength as you continually navigate your executive career.

1. Understand that the 6-month mark is important. As an executive, your first 6 months in your job will require pouring a 100% plus of your energy into your role and ensuring that your first year in the position is a success.   Past the 6-month mark, it’s time to widen your lens and invest at least 5% of your energy into your career. At each anniversary date, you should increase this time investment and broaden your focus. Initially, this could mean additional training or education.   It could also mean taking on speaking engagements and networking to exchange knowledge with other executives in your field.   Importantly, these activities not only will help you deliver results for your current firm, but they will also keep your skills relevant and sharp in the marketplace. It will also allow you to build and strengthen your network of colleagues and expand your visibility to those who could play a vital role in your organizational advancement.

2. Always have a long-term career strategy. You should be continually defining, refining, and working your long-term career strategy.   What is the vision of your ideal role?   Are you an industry-specific executive or is there a new industry you’d like to pursue?   This career plan will help guide the choices you make in your career development and prevent you from becoming complacent or stagnant. Just as successful leaders believe that every business plan must have a viable talent plan that describes how the plan is to be implemented, a thoughtful career strategy needs to have a business plan on how to achieve the stated objectives with the required skills to execute it. The time to determine your skill gaps is now before the next phase of career strategy unfolds.

3. Be marketable even if you’re not in the marketplace. This starts with taking on challenges that align with your career plan.   For example, if you’re a CFO with a Fortune 500 firm and you aspire to become a Fortune 100 CFO, a good place to start is networking with Fortune 100 CFOs and doing a gap analysis between your skills and theirs.   Obviously, it will take time to close any gaps and that’s why this career plan is a long-term – not short-term – strategy.    Being marketable also entails continually optimizing your CV, sharing expertise with those who need it, and sharing thought leadership either by speaking engagements or written publications.  Strive to become the person people in your field want to know because of the success you are creating for your company.  Also, cultivate your desire to learn and stay on the cutting edge of your field so that you are consistently advancing the profession in the most critical areas.

4. Develop a continual networking strategy. With your current career demands, it’s not feasible to network with every contact that you have.   But you can take a look at your most important contacts and segment them.   Who are the contacts you should be reaching out to once a month for lunch or simply exchanging emails?   Who are the contacts you should reach out to once a quarter?  What you don’t want to do is wait until you need them and then start reaching out to contacts you haven’t communicated with for years.    Lead5 is a service that provides executives with key executive contacts.   Lead5 also informs its members when important hires like CEOs are made.   That’s a good time for you to do some outreach, sending a short note to a newly appointed CEO, congratulating him/her and mentioning that one day you’d love to share how you can help.

5. Don’t be complacent. The average tenure for a C-suite executive is 3-5 years at the same company. While things could be going extremely well for you now, recognize that all companies have downturns, leadership shifts, and ownership changes.   While it’s your duty to pour your energy into making your firm a success, don’t neglect yourself in the process.   The most successful executive always carves out time to invest in themselves.   As I mentioned above, this benefits your current firm and it keeps you relevant in the marketplace.

6. Don’t neglect development opportunities within your current firm. Executives too often believe that to get ahead that they must switch firms.   While that is sometimes the case, remember that your current firm appointed you for a reason.   While you’re helping your current firm achieve its mission, make a point to find allies who champion your long-term career vision (assuming that this vision is aligned with the company vision, of course).  This will open up doors at your current firm that help you proactively achieve your career plan.

Key Takeaways:

As an executive, if you’re not continually proactive in your career approach, then you’re in a reactive state which puts you in a position of weakness.

How do you shift into this proactive state and position of strength?   As detailed above, look for opportunities that improve your skills, visibility, and relationships.  These three things will keep you highly marketable as you continue to evolve on your leadership path.

 Use Lead5 to uncover hidden executive opportunities and gain the intel required to land your next prominent role.   Lead5 has been the executives trusted partner for 5 years.   

Start your complimentary trial today. 

 

 

Executive Compensation 101

Hi, I’m Mike Russ COO of Lead5.  Compensation is the basis of many questions that we receive at Lead5 from executive-level candidates.  Some firms will tell a candidate that they “compensate very competitively” which is deliberately vague.  After all, the candidate must prove that they are the right fit before any compensation discussion gets serious.

In reality, there are a number of factors that go into executive compensation.  I won’t cover them all in this blog, but I will give you some useful directional guidance on compensation, and close with two ways to think about compensation more strategically.

Public Company Executive Job Seekers.  Let’s cover compensation for the executive seeking a role with a public company first.   Many execs don’t realize that the SEC is mandated to release the compensation for the top 5 executives for public firms.    Here’s what you need to conduct that research: https://www.sec.gov/fast-answers/answersproxyhtfhtm.html

Knowing the top 5 executive salary range provides you with useful directional guidance about what a public company is willing to pay for a particular executive function.

Additionally, if you identify an executive opening in your industry and within your function, you probably have a general compensation range in mind.  Keep in mind that company size (measured by number of employees, revenue) is a factor, and certain companies are known to compensate more generously than others.   This is where some basic search queries and solid networking comes into play.

Private and Private Equity Executive Job Seekers.   Unlike executives seeking prominent roles with public companies, private and PE companies are more nuanced in how they treat compensation.   The best way to get an understanding in these markets is to connect with a recruiter who specializes in your function to best understand emerging compensation trends:

For example, Lead5 compensation analysis has shown an increase in the average base salary for CFO’s of PE backed lower middle market companies over the last 2 years.  The mid-point of base salary has traditionally been roughly $250,000.  With a highly competitive market for proven players with previous PE portfolio company CFO experience, the base salary range has jumped up to $300,000.  

Here’s a useful compensation resource for executive leaders seeking roles in PE-backed companies:

https://privateequitycompensation.com/contents/

 

Thinking About Executive Compensation Strategically

There’s a lot of information I could cover here, but I want to touch on two points that every executive should consider.

1. Not all experience is equal in the marketplace. What I mean is that within every field, there is a ‘golden route’ to the highest potential compensation track.   Here’s a few examples:

a. CFOs who begin as CPAs within the Big 4 early in their careers

b. General Counsels who cut their teeth at a top 100 law firm

c. CMOs who early on lead a consumer product with P&G

While it’s absolutely true that top executive talent comes from a variety of different firm structures, compensation data proves that these types of tracks are the most lucrative ones.

2. Taking the long view on executive compensation. While every executive wishes to maximize their market potential, it’s exceptionally important to recognize the built-in long-term value of landing that first C-level position.   To earn a seat in the C-suite, you must demonstrate mastery in your functional area and produce consistent results.   Over the long haul, those skills are far more valuable to the marketplace than whatever initial C-level compensation that you receive.

I hope this information has been useful to you!   Helping executives land prominent executive roles at leading companies is something I’m passionate about.  Feel free to reach out to me anytime if you have questions about executive compensation:  mike@lead5.com

Use Lead5 to uncover hidden executive opportunities and gain the intel required to land your next prominent role.   Lead5 has been the executives trusted partner for 5 years.  

Start your complimentary trial.