Founders Hiring “Professional” CEOs to Run Their Company

Reid Hoffman’s new essay If, Why, and How Founders Should Hire a “Professional” CEO is worth reading for any entrepreneur or any executive thinking about joining a high growth startup. It’s a very personal topic for Reid, and an important one for everyone in the industry to think about. The concluding paragraphs:

20 years ago, venture capitalists were in a hurry to bring in professional CEOs.  Today, many of the same VC firms are busy touting their support for long-term Founder-CEOs.  Both approaches can work, which means that as an entrepreneur, you should focus less on what’s fashionable, and more on what’s right for you.  This is a highly personal decision, and the right answer depends on you and your team—including your co-founders and your VCs.  You might be a Steve Jobs, or you might be a Pierre Omidyar.  As an investor, I’m willing to back you, even if you’re not sure which one you are yet.  In every investment we make, we hope that the Founder-CEO will be able to lead the company to success, but if not, and if you realize as I did that you want to bring in a professional CEO, we’ll work with you to find someone who is a true partner.

So as it turns out, Ben Horowitz was right.  You always do want a Founder-CEO.  But that person doesn’t always have to be the Founding CEO.  Being there at the start isn’t the only path to being a founder.  “Founder” is a state of mind, not a job description, and if done right, even CEOs who join after day 1 can become Founders.

33 Responses to Founders Hiring “Professional” CEOs to Run Their Company

  1. Part of what I do for a living is referred to as “professional CTO-ing” or building the sites that run the startup from an operational perspective. It’s also called reverse-incubating. (/plug) At any rate, we look for Founder-CEOs who have the most focused vision and have researched the needs of their market closely. More to the point of the blog post, the CEOs that we work with are almost never the people who created the idea initially. They were brought on because the founders have no idea what to do with it!

  2. It makes a lot of sense to me that these two roles—that of founder and that of CEO—would be separated. I have worked with both types, and the personalities do not always match at all. What I expect from most founders is to be creative types that are good at dealing with ideas. I think of the job of CEO as much less interesting, but just as crucial. I don’t think “idea people” are usually good at the complicated management tasks like budget planning, staffing, and choosing office space.

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  12. growingheart says:

    This can be a right thing to do since not all founders are that skillful when it comes to running a company. Singapore Storage

  13. wholelife213 says:

    Is there even a course designed for CEO? warehouse

  14. Now I know why not all CEOs are not owners/founders. Commercial Photographer

  15. Tenyears415 says:

    I hope schools will have a CEO course for this job. SECOM

  16. LocaMica51 says:

    In this case, I should tell my aunt about it. She’s been struggling with her business and maybe a professional CEO can help her with her business. city gate Singapore

  17. richmond049 says:

    And all the while I thought all CEOs are owners of the businesses where they work. http://www.seosubmit.com

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  19. Are there still any job hirings for CEOs today? where can I find them. Would want to apply. iHub Solutions

  20. So most of the CEOs today are not the founders of the company. This is really an eye-opener for me. ihubsolutions.com.hk

  21. how much usually is the minimum payment for CEO workers in companies? waikayphotography.com

  22. I think CEOs have a really high pay. I even want to apply for one if only I’m a graduate of this course. register a domain name

  23. What is the reason behind this? don’t founders have enough time to manager their own business?
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  24. emett21 says:

    If professional CEOs are the ones who will run companies, do they have the power to fire people?
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  26. g00dlistener says:

    Can you put a link here of a list of companies who are hiring professional CEOs? amazon.com

  27. yoM4M4 says:

    I’ve tried working as a professional CEO at a certain company and it’s really a nice feeling seems you’ll feel like you’re the owner. amazon saw palmetto

  28. is there any way that I can apply for CEO for a certain company without studying the course? http://www.active-domain.com

  29. Can you provide us readers a link that has a list of companies who are hiring CEOs today? http://www.megaton.com.sg

  30. wednewly2310 says:

    I hope I can find a company who can hire me as a CEO. six figure mentors review

  31. stpatrickUS says:

    Now I know why there are some CEOs who are not the owners. curcumin on amazon

  32. snowglow021 says:

    This is an additional knowledge for me or for others who want a new career. Astaxanthin on Amazon

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