Finding a CEO: Going Past the Resume

Finding a CEO: Going Past the Resume

By Rodolfo Bellesi, Founder and Principal of Ikove Capital

There is a lot of emphasis put on building an impressive resume that showcases your education, skills, and previous positions. While a resume is a great way to view a person’s technical qualifications, it does not tell me all the information I need to know about you. When I’m looking for a potential CEO for a startup company, I do not solely look at applicant’s technical skills to determine if they are going to be a good fit. Choosing a CEO with prior experience may appear to be a sure thing and that the company would be destined for great success. However, a study published in MIT Sloan Management Review found that only 19.6 percent of Fortune 500 companies were ran by CEOs with previous executive experience. In fact, out those companies, the individuals who went from one CEO position to another performed worse than those who weren’t former CEOs!

These findings show that the best person for the job may not come from the most polished resume or prestigious employers. When I look for a CEO, I search for talent from all backgrounds-- not just people who have went to business school. A particular personal encounter comes to mind: my daughters were born in a hospital in Lisbon, Portugal that was ran by a civil engineer. Typically, you would expect an experienced medical director to be in charge, but the engineer had the right skill set to perform the job well. Some people have their own unique backgrounds and attributes that have given them valuable business experiences. You may have helped run your family business or the head of sales. In short, your experiences are what matter and it is important. I need to know that you are a leader and that you have actively been on the front lines to grow a business and help make it successful.

So what are these experiences and skills that I am looking for? Be on the lookout for my next post, which will explain the ideal qualities for a startup CEO.

Rodolfo Bellesi is Founder and Principal of Ikove Capital, a venture development company founded to pursue early-stage investments with an emphasis on technology commercialization in the Midwest.