DEFINITION of 'Interim CEO'

An interim CEO is a person appointed by a company's board of directors to assume the role of chief executive officer during a time of transition or as the result of the sudden departure of the company's previous CEO. These CEOs are tagged with the "interim" tag because they have not officially been given the title of full-time CEO. However, they assume full responsibility of the CEO role while in the position. Interim CEOs are often called upon to "steady the ship" in periods of great turmoil.

BREAKING DOWN 'Interim CEO'

Although traditionally, companies will call from their existing employee base when hiring an interim CEO, an increasing number of businesses are now bringing in interim CEOs from outside the firm. One of the reasons for this is that the skill set desired for interim CEOs is generally unique, as they are often required to manage a crisis, as opposed to the day-to-day operations of the company.

Example of an Interim CEO

A recent example of an interim CEO taking control of a company was after Equifax's large data breach during September of 2017. Richard Smith, Equifax's CEO who stepped down in September 2017 due to criticism of his handling of a large cyber attack, was replaced by Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. who immediately took to apologizing for the data breach and introducing ways to help those affected.

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