Interim Executive Directors

The Power in the Middle

Posted January 1, 2005
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund
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Poorly managed transitions can erode organizational effectiveness and service quality, and even put a nonprofit out of business. However, nonprofits that receive the proper support and understand the transition process use these periods of change as opportunities for growth and improvements. This monograph describes the benefits and basics of using an interim executive director in a leadership transition. Interim executive directors are highly skilled managers who temporarily take the helm of an organization (four to eight months on average), help the board and staff address important systems and capacity issues, and lay the groundwork for the permanent leader’s success.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations

Key Takeaway

Groups that do use an interim executive director emerge stronger, more financially sound, and with high levels of optimism.

In a 2004 survey of more than 2,200 nonprofit organizations, 65% of respondents say they are likely to go through a leadership transition by 2009, while just 57% had experienced a transition during the past 10 years. In the same survey, 55% of executive directors were over the age of 50.