For maximum exposure, all Help Wanted Ads will appear in MMQB (Monday Morning Quarterback) weekly issues and on the Website. Ads also appear on the website of (Contract Furnishings News) and in the twice weekly edition of CFN's The Working Space Newsletter.


Why Does My Company’s CEO Keep Disappearing?

Dear Stephen,

I work for a contract furniture manufacturer with HQ in North Carolina. We're a subsidiary of an overseas company. It seems we have a new President or CEO every couple of years.

I'm in sales, and we have a great product, but the leadership keeps changing. The vibe is that the leadership is quitting the job and not being asked to leave, which is not a comfortable feeling.

Every time there is a change, we have a "town hall meeting" where ownership explains to us that they've decided to change strategy. With that comes a new CEO. Consistently, the CEOs come from one of the major manufacturers – someone unhappy at MillerKnoll, Steelcase... you get the idea. Most of these executives were no more than an RVP at another company; in one case, one ran a dealership.

This affects my future because I can't seem to form a relationship with a boss who will stay with our company. What do you think my future is under these circumstances, and what's your suggestion – should I move on or stay put? I generally like my job; I just want to be able to have one boss who's going to stay.


Will They Stay or Will They Go


Dear Will They,

Yes, there have been a lot of new leadership changes lately. BossDesign has a new President. I’ve noticed Designtex has been looking for leadership for a while. At Arper, the CEO just quit. I believe HATCollective has an opening in leadership. So, yeah, I guess you’re right. There’s a lot of movement, or open holes, at the top of our industry. Typically, the longer a leadership position remains open, the more revenue a company loses. At least, that’s what I’m told.

You are correct when you say it is concerning when a CEO quits rather than being asked to leave. However, I'm also aware that many times, the owners decide they've hired the wrong person, and they simply want to make a change. So, the reasons for a CEO leaving are usually 50/50.

I think we have all noticed that when new leadership comes into some of these small companies, they usually have a pedigree from one of the major manufacturers. As you said, even though there is very little comparison to working at a major company like Steelcase to any company under 50 million dollars.

It could be that the executives who quit find it difficult to leave the umbrella of one of the major manufacturers, along with all the cushy trappings, and go to a smaller manufacturer where the title of CEO or President is simply a glorified VP of Sales. It may be a fast way for a company to fill a position, but it does long-term damage because no one ever seems to last.

Regarding your question and your position, I would stay put if it were me. Chaos in the company makes every steady employee more valuable to the owners. You should consider throwing your hat into the ring with your bosses and ask them to consider promoting internally. Just by stepping up and saying you are ready for more responsibility will be viewed as a positive by the owners, even if you are not ready. So even if you don't get the CEO job, you may get a promotion. Frankly, that’s where a lot of these small companies miss the mark when it comes to hiring leadership. I often recommend to someone coming to us for a search that they consider promoting internally or hiring from a similar revenue size company, especially when it’s 50 million or under.

Hiring a big shot from MillerKnoll is not going to help your company. It is only helping that individual with a grand new elevated title!

Hope that helps.