Client Story: Technology Executive Search

The Challenge

A multi-billion dollar privately held company and closely watched tech unicorn engaged N2Growth to find a new independent Chief Technology Officer. The company’s co-founder CEO had recently stepped down and been replaced by its COO, who had more investor relations savvy and large company operating experience and could take the brand public. Its other co-founder, the outgoing Chief Technology Officer, realized the importance of replacing himself with a seasoned executive to support the planned IPO.

The Mission

Our client, a technology business with a high volume of subscription sales, experienced hypergrowth. Its technology operations were struggling to mature to the depth and scale required to support its global business. Its core products were innovative, and its customers were happy and recurring. Still, the need for “snaking wires,” complex infrastructure transformations, microservices architecture, cybersecurity, and optimizations to sustain high growth and manage risk were essential to our client’s strategic plan. Our client needed a proven and capable chief technologist with experience leading and managing change at a multi-billion dollar scale.

 

After the engagement, we learned that our client’s leadership needs were situated in a nuanced cultural context. Though now a multi-billion dollar business with thousands of employees across the globe, our values were built on the ethos of a scrappy, strong-willed startup. Common among all leaders who were successful in proving trustworthiness and establishing credibility – with the board and with employees – was a history of demonstrating speed, vision, and success in resource-constrained environments. What’s more, the outgoing CTO and co-founder was viewed as exceptionally charismatic and detail-oriented; those qualities were unstated expectations of a viable successor. Last, while executive leadership had generally homogenous and undifferentiated opinions about the strength of subfunctions reporting to the CTO, leaders and early employees still within the technology organization perceived the data and analytics function as being underdeveloped relative to where it ought to be.

The Result

The specific insights we drew and alignment we found at the early days of this search created clarity and little need for specification iteration as the search developed. Our team rigorously mapped the market for candidates whose attributes were attuned to the needs of our client. After tens of interviews, we submitted a total of eight candidates for consideration within four weeks. By week seven, our client had three finalists on-site for interviews. At day 56, our client and its top candidate executed an employment agreement. The new CTO helped lead our client through its successful IPO less than a year later. Today, our client is a publicly-traded company with an eleven-figure valuation, a household name, and a world-class CTO.

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