The C-suite hiring puzzle: How companies like Intel are shifting strategies

February 2019 | Riviera Partners

A lot of organizations right now have the infrastructure to support the analysis of large data sets and make decisions to make their service or their application more effective, but there's not a lot of experience in building these teams in the newer areas that have emerged," said Riviera Partners' Michael Morell.

When Intel Corp. last month picked Bob Swan as its new CEO, the chipmaker was following a new playbook that has become more prevalent in the executive search world.

Silicon Valley recruiting experts told the Business Journal that search times in general are getting longer and more tech companies are looking outside of their traditional lines of search for executives. And as was the case with Intel, more tech companies are pulling CEOs from non-technical backgrounds and promoting to the C-suite from within.  

“It’s really hard because it’s just not a cookie-cutter design anymore,” said Jason Cooper, who works for Jobspring Partners, a recruiting firm that has worked with companies including Adobe Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Symantec Corp.

Some Intel workers told the Business Journal last week they thought Swan’s non-traditional background struck a favorable chord with employees who wanted a different kind of leader. Swan, who was Intel’s CFO at the time, served as interim CEO during the company’s eight-month search for a permanent chief executive.

“The war on talent is real and they (companies and boards) say they have these positions open and they need to get projects underway,” said Heather Johnston, district president for staffing services firm Robert Half Technology. “Our surveys show that 90 percent of C-suites are also concerned with their ability to hire those individuals.”

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