Trends I’m seeing in the CEO role from the UK VC/PE community

Working within the Venture Capital and Private Equity communities in the UK has given me access to a variety of views regarding the CEO role. As you can imagine, Managing Partners in these funds are keenly aware of performance across their portfolios. And, given that a significant proportion of that performance lies in the CEO positions across these portfolios, their observations are pretty keen.

Trends that I’ve noticed include:

  • Broad recognition that the CEO role, as currently designed, is too large and too complex for one person to handle
  • Massive Founder departures driven by fatigue over the past 4 years, their poor personal performance, and the recognition on the Founder’s part, that the romance of starting a business is not the same as the gritty management/growth of a business 
  • The importance of having a curated set of business advisors who hold deep technical know-how that the CEOs will never have
  • Stress, anxiety is rife across the CEO community and requires great intention when dealing with it (this is a major concern, not something at the periphery)
  •  There are solid signs that growth is returning and that the slump of Q1 and Q2 is ending (US markets are showing particularly solid bounce-back signals), so companies are turning to a growth agenda once more

I hope that’s useful and gives you a steer as to where your attention and energy is being placed. Alongside resource allocation, these are the only commodities a CEO has to work with, so pay close attention to how you’re ‘spending’ yours.

For what it’s worth, my takeaway is that being a Founder/CEO requires hyper-attention. The downside risks are significant in this role and they are to be paid careful attention to. More simply put, Founder/CEOs need to be on their A-game in every aspect of their lives, professional and personal. 

That’s the bottom-line.

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