PE-backed CEO - Replacing Underperforming CEO



The underperforming CEO role focuses on turnaround leadership, driving significant operational improvements and financial stability. This role requires a resilient leader capable of managing high-pressure environments and navigating complexity.

The CEO will assess underperformance, restructure operations, and implement strategic initiatives to stabilize and grow the company. Building strong relationships with stakeholders and leveraging business opportunities are critical.

The ideal candidate will possess strong business acumen, analytical thinking, and a deep understanding of strategic turnarounds. They must demonstrate resilience in overcoming setbacks, ensuring the company’s path to recovery and long-term success.

Key objectives

Key objectives describe the objectives that the new employee has to achieve to be considered successful and help create the context for basic requirements and competencies.

Comprehensive turnaround strategy is developed and executed to address areas of underperformance, with clear short-term and long-term goals.

Stakeholder confidence is rebuilt through transparent communication and consistent delivery on key performance indicators, paving the way for a successful exit strategy.

Financial health is stabilized through enhanced budgeting, forecasting, and reporting, providing immediate visibility into cash flows and profitability.

Position requirements

Position requirements include the required experiences, qualifications, and skills needed to achieve the key objectives of the role.

Turnaround Leadership Experience
Extensive experience in turnaround situations, demonstrating the ability to quickly assess underperformance, restructure operations, and drive significant improvements in a short timeframe.

  • Can you share a specific instance where you successfully led a company through a turnaround? What steps did you take to assess underperformance and restructure operations?
  • Describe a time when you had to make rapid changes in a short timeframe. How did you prioritize actions, and what were the outcomes?

Look for detailed examples of turnaround leadership, including assessing performance issues and implementing restructures that led to significant improvements. The candidate should demonstrate clear strategic thinking and impactful leadership.

Operational Efficiency Optimization
Strong background in optimizing operational processes, reducing costs, and improving margin performance through strategic initiatives and process improvements.

  • Can you provide an example where you optimized operational processes to reduce costs and improve margins? What strategies did you use, and what were the results?
  • Describe a situation where your process improvements led to significant operational efficiencies. How did you identify the areas for improvement?

Look for evidence of successful operational optimizations, cost reductions, and margin improvements. The candidate should articulate their process for identifying inefficiencies and implementing effective solutions.

High Resilience and Adaptability
Demonstrated resilience in overcoming setbacks, maintaining team morale, and driving forward through challenging periods with a focus on long-term success.

  • Share a time when you faced significant challenges and had to demonstrate resilience. How did you maintain team morale and navigate through the difficult period?
  • Describe a situation where you had to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. How did you manage the transition and maintain performance?

Look for examples showcasing resilience, the ability to maintain morale, and adaptability in facing challenges. The candidate should provide instances of overcoming setbacks and maintaining focus on long-term success.


Competencies are the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a job successfully. They help to distinguish superior performance from the average.

Strategic Thinking

Understands industry trends, develops future-oriented scenarios, articulates a compelling vision, and links strategic goals to daily work.

Ensuring accountability

Provides direction by clearly communicating performance expectations. Holds oneself and others accountable to meet set objectives.


Keeps emotions under control, maintains high performance levels under pressure, and recovers quickly from setbacks and disappointment.

Get the full scorecard

Download the full scorecard with all the key objectives, position requirements, and job-related competencies along with job-based interview questions and more.