Convenience grocery retailer Nisa has named Arnu Misra as its interim chief executive. 

Misra was already employed at the company, as independent non-executive director. He also has a strong track record in the retail trade, including holding senior positions at Asda, Morrisons and Loblaw’s in Canada.

So why “Interim”? The Nisa press release stated this was part of the company’s “succession planning.”

Interim appointments for testing times

In an era of caution in the retail sector, appointing senior executives in an interim capacity can make good commercial sense.

It gives both the company and the candidate time to test the role. Also, responsibilities can be transferred in a more measured way and there can be more fluid negotiations about some aspects of the post.

If a candidate is promoted from a different department or grafted in from a different retailer, they can be given the opportunity to stretch and grow to fill the new role, before signing on the dotted line.

Interim executives for short-term needs

Sometimes, appointing people into interim posts is designed to have a time limit. It is a valuable way of utilising a specific skill set during times of change or challenge.

An interim executive is seen as a more integrated and cohesive alternative to appointing consultants. They can implement, as well as create strategies and problem solve.

When short-term interim retail executives are brought in to fill critical gaps, the Board need to make this clear. It needs to be agreed on both sides that this is to give them breathing space to carry out a more detailed evaluation of the role and the ideal candidate, or to get through the period of transformation.

Stakeholder perception

The use of the word interim in front of a retail executives’ job title does need to be handled with care in terms of how stakeholders view it. It could be seen as a lack of faith in the appointee’s ability to handle the role.

Also, the implication of temporary could leave the shop floor with concerns about the company finding the right person.

Boards need to demonstrate that any interim appointment is due to sound commercial reasons and still endows upon the candidate the faith and support of all their superiors.

Interim recruits need to ask pertinent questions

If you are offered an Interim management role, you need to know the reasons why it is not a permanent appointment. Are they looking for other applicants for the role? What criteria would you need to be appointed on a permanent basis?

With the terms of your interim role carefully agreed, you then need to take time to consider whether this matches your own interests and career aspirations.

Contact Anthony Gregg Partnership today for further guidance on interim roles.

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