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By | February 1, 2023

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What is an Interim Manager CRO?

Crisis situations mean special requirements and changed framework conditions for the management level of a company: The employees are unsettled and the suppliers complain if they do not receive their money (on time). The task of a CRO is to analyze the tense situation, identify the problems, develop solutions and thus free the company from the crisis.

This process can be compared to working in a hospital: the company takes on the role of patient and the CRO takes on the role of doctor. The seriously injured company is brought in and given first aid in the ambulance. The CRO then examines them thoroughly, runs any necessary tests, and develops a treatment plan. Then he starts the healing process.

Temporary assignment with the highest responsibility

As an interim manager, CROs take on a leading role in a company for a specific purpose for a predefined, time-limited period. In contrast to a consultant, they take on the management and control of the company and are therefore responsible for its fate. An interim project in the area of ​​restructuring can last a few weeks, but also a year or even longer. The duration of the project always depends on the individual renovation case and the associated requirements and tasks.

For freelance CROs, it’s a good idea to work with a provider — preferably one with extensive restructuring experience. Because specialized providers not only acquire the orders and fill them with suitable interim managers; they support the CRO as a sparring partner throughout the entire process, with specialist knowledge, competence and a broad network in the industry.

Fast, well-founded decisions are required

Every restructuring case is different and poses individual challenges for the CRO. However, one aspect always applies: companies that are in a crisis cannot continue as before, but have to change. The crux of the matter is speed: decisions on changes must be made quickly and cannot be discussed for weeks at various hierarchical levels. Because most renovations fail due to a lack of speed.

A CRO is always deployed to a company at very short notice and thrown in at the deep end. Therefore, the first step is always to take stock. The primary goal is to clarify what stage of the crisis the company is in and whether a turnaround without insolvency is possible or not. To do this, he talks to as many internal and external stakeholders as possible and looks at the numbers.

In the second step, the CRO tries to win back the trust of the investors. He conveys his assessment of the situation and brings up possible solutions. His goal is to postpone payment deadlines or receive new funds. Once these first two hurdles have been cleared, the operational restructuring tasks begin: In order to reposition the company in the long term, the CRO must uncover the operational weaknesses and initiate solutions for them. In doing so, he must re-motivate the (remaining) workforce and get them enthusiastic about his vision. Above all, it is important to retain the top performers who are helping to shape the turnaround.

Digitalization has basically no impact on the daily work of the CRO. Because its core tasks — analysis and control as well as conducting negotiations and building trust — remain the same and hardly change as a result. However, digitization has driven a number of companies from certain industries into restructuring – and thus made jobs for the CRO. The publishing industry, for example, is very badly affected. This is because medium-sized companies in particular have lost paying customers here due to the massive amount of free content available. The money ran out and they slid into restructuring.

The most important things in 5 seconds

  • Education: Successfully completed business studies with a focus on finance and accounting/taxes/controlling or relevant professional training
  • Starting salary: €1,500 net per day
  • Top salary: €5,000 net per day
  • Opportunities for advancement: Permanent position in management positions


What does an Interim Manager CRO do?

  • Assumption of operational responsibility in companies in crisis
  • Identification and operational implementation of stabilization and restructuring measures
  • Conducting negotiations with banks and other financial service providers
  • Communication of the situation and further strategy to internal and external stakeholders


How do you become an interim manager CRO?

Most interim CROs were previously line managers at companies that went into crisis. Here they learned on the job how to deal with crisis situations and specialized in the topic of restructuring of their own accord. The following additional experiences are typically expected of CROs:

  • Successfully completed business studies with a focus on finance and accounting/taxes/ controllingor relevant professional training
  • extensive work experience
  • Sound experience as an (interim) manager, at first or second management level
  • extensive technical know-how
  • Good to very good knowledge of English, other foreign languages ​​are helpful


How much does an Interim CRO make per day?

from €1,500

up to €5,000

When a Chief Restructuring Officer (CRO) works as an interim manager, he does not receive a salary, but daily fees. How high the daily rate is depends primarily on which position or task he is to take on and how long the project lasts. It also depends on whether it is entered in the commercial register or not. Because there are legal risks involved. The range of daily fees ranges from € 1,500 to €5,000 net. There are also travel expenses and any other special expenses.


What do you expect from the Interim Manager CRO?

CROs assume a managerial role in every project. Against this background, CROs are seasoned personalities who, thanks to their many years of experience, can quickly grasp a situation and develop solutions. As an interim manager in a leading role, CROs are often a lifeline and a beacon of hope. At the same time, they often have to make negative decisions and communicate with the workforce – and as a result feel the displeasure of the employees. In order to meet these requirements, CROs must be mentally stable and have strong communication skills and good social skills. In addition, they must adopt the corporate philosophy and develop ownership. This is the only way they can achieve the best for the respective company.


Opportunities for advancement as Interim Manager CRO

Career is not the right term in connection with an interim manager: If you want to help changing companies out of the crisis as a CRO in a managerial role, you have to have made it very far up the career ladder. It is particularly helpful here if they have taken on various managerial positions in different companies.

Those who choose this path should take into account that the CRO’s job is cyclical. It is therefore certainly helpful to get involved in times of crisis and build up a foothold that will carry you through the quieter times. Anyone who wants to change from the role of CRO at some point can do so without any problems. Because CROs have gained so much experience that they are welcomed with open arms by companies looking for permanent positions in a wide variety of areas.

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