Sudden departure of Chief Executive

This Hospice has 70 staff and nearly 500 volunteers working at a main location and nine other locations. The Chief Executive left suddenly. There was a team of directors who were well able to run their specific functions, which covered a high proportion of the activities.

However the diversity of these specialisms, from medical and nursing care to fundraising, meant that the role of the Chief Executive was critical in providing co-ordination and overall direction. Key areas of administration also reported directly to the Chief Executive, and needed that person’s support.

Paul Kelly filled the role of Chief Executive on a part time basis until a permanent replacement was recruited. The initial assignment of three months was extended, eventually to seven months.

The benefits to the Hospice were:

  • stability and re-building of morale during the transition;
  • an independent review of, and recommendations on, the organisational structure;
  • productive co-operation between specialist functions;
  • enhancements to the management information systems;
  • a predictable and controllable cost, broadly equivalent to a full time salaried post;
  • no significant issues being neglected during the transition;
  • no overloading of already busy managers;
  • a very smooth handover to the new Chief Executive, enabling him to learn about the organisation and become fully effective more quickly.

Paul’s skills which achieved this are:

  • interpersonal skills;
  • a willingness to listen, combined with impartiality and an outsider’s fresh view;
  • analytical skills;
  • financial management and planning skills.