Gérard LEROI, an industry interim management specialist particularly appreciates the freedom of speech that the interim manager’s status provides him with.
Since when are you an interim manager?
I have started the activity of interim management in 2012. As many senior executives being close or in there sixties, I have decided to quit the salaried environment world. Consequently, I chose to become a consultant and an interim manager.
What is your expertise as an interim manager?
I am a consulting engineer, specialised in management and in industrial strategy. During my whole career, I have evolved in the automotive sector (manufacturers, automotive supplier, etc.). First and foremost, I have undertaken operational activities (R&D, methods, project, manufacturing), then managerial ones (business unit manager), and finally, I took charge of industrial divisions and general management of subsidiaries such as ones of Renault, Valeo and Faurecia. An important part of my career occured abroad, in Europe, North-America and in Asia, specifically in Japan,at Toyota where I got the occasion to learn the ways of « lean management ». Moreover, I have collaborated with Private Equity funds and Adjustment funds.
Can you tell us more about your last assignment opportunity as an interim manager?
It was supposed to be a 3 months old assignment, which started in June 2014. I had to « support » the General Manager of a industrial group’s subsidiary encompassing 130 employees and aiming at reorganising its production tool. After this assignment, the client offered me the opportunity to replace the General Manager, under a General Manager interim management contract. I have also advised the company in the recruitment of a new director for this subsidiary. Overall, the interim management assignment lasted for 10 months.
What do you particularly appreciate in interim management?
I essentially enjoy the great diversity of the assignments proposed. Each interim management assignment represents a new problematic, with, each time, some technical and human enriching insights. Conversely with a full time position within a company, the interim manager can take a step back when it comes to the political and strategic internal situation. He is usually less stressed by daily activities, even if he considers every success factors and commits to put in place everything it takes to sucessfully achieve his interim management assignment. Given his position, he disposes of more freedom to elaborate solutions, sometimes bold ones, but only if he benefits from the support of the board and/or of the shareholder. During a recent interim management assignment, I have proposed divergent views and solutions compared with the orientations which had been given to me. A traditional manager would have never dare position himself this way.
What is the main input of an interim manager in a company?
The interim manager is generally committed in assignments with less responsibilities than his previous salaried experiences. His personal experience is a crucial asset to choose the best winning options.
How to behave like an interim manager in a company?
Each company has its own culture which must be assimilated as quickly as possible, in order to avoid making mistakes which would be damaging for the continuation of the assignement. The interim manager must capitalise on his experience. He has to identify opinion leaders within the organisation in order to consider them when undertaking his assignment, as efficiently as possible. He must be a clever manager and mostly exchange continually with his senior executives.