There is a worldwide shortage of chief executives, particularly among Internet start-ups, which require a more unconventional leader than traditional companies.
The study, undertaken by Korn/Ferry and Kevin Coleman, chief strategist of the Sun-Netscape Alliance's Worldwide Professional Services unit, revealed that Internet CEOs need to understand how to blend their policies with overall corporate strategy and how to create strategic alliances and joint ventures.
"The .com CEO" white paper also indicated that of the 302 CEO positions advertised two months ago, some 265 of them were for dot.com companies. It said such executives were "so scarce that headhunters need almost half a year to fill the positions."
It also estimated that about 500 dot.com start-ups and spin-offs were created each month and that each one needed a CEO. But because the requisite unconventional CEOs were in extremely short supply even in Silicon Valley, the average job search took about 26 weeks.
The Sun-Netscape Alliance's Coleman said: "In Internet time, that's more than two years," which means that the CEO search is disproportianate to the time is takes to start the company - which is about 100 days. "It's a really interesting blend," he added.
But he stated that while the financial rewards for joining dot.com start-ups was unbelievable, the move did present a fair amount of risk. "Your personal life suffers because there's a commitment to be totally immersed in the startup...and then you slow down to a 60 to 70 hour week," he said.
The report also indicated that the average dot.com chief executive was "about 39 years old with the style of a rogue warrior. They do not like to be constrained by rules or follow traditional lines of thought."
Rob Enderle, analyst at Giga Information Group, said: "There have been staff shortages for a while, across the broad scope of companies. In the dot.com market where everyone is competing for a small pool of resources, the more likely they are to use warm bodies."
But he added: "We have to define the skill set elsewhere. The head hunters have to do a better job of defining the resource, and look more to the skill and less to the public image to make selection. While they are looking for high profile, what they need is someone to run a company - perhaps someone who currently runs a division, but doesn't know that particular business and comes from outside the industry."
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