The Death of the Interim Management Industry – Part 2 – Response from John Gelmini

I intend to run a series of blogs entitled The Death of the Interim Management Industry following on from my earlier blog.

This blog I am giving over to the response that I received from John Gelmini. I shall post a few words at the end.


This is an example of what my late father used to call “Cutting and binding”. It is an old saying from Northern Italy which means something like this:

First a person seeking help is reassured that everything will be done to help him in his hour of need. Then, in the middle of the night, when the person is asleep the so called “helper” creeps in and cuts off the arm or a limb of the sleeper and makes a swift exit. A few moments later the “helper” reappears with an accomplice who in the form of a doctor ministers to the injured person and arranges for an ambulance. The injured person now ends up in hospital and after a suitable interval the “helper” reappears bearing gifts and flowers to the recovering patient who is then eternally grateful to the “helper” who can then be manipulated into doing the bidding of the “helper”.

The fate of interim managers was determined some years ago by the Government who wanted to rationalize their consultancy provision to a few suppliers.

Interims never had any place in this equation and were deemed to be a nuisance even though this was never said publicly.

Some of the bigger interim management agencies were in the know because of their personal connections and started to re-position themselves as mentors, providers of commoditized contracting services, outsourcers and as overseas operations(e.g.:Executives On Line).

Interims themselves were not told about the strategy but were told that things were picking up, that there was renewed confidence in the marketplace, that ISPs were having “record years” and in survey after survey were and still are being told that the sunlit uplands are still within reach.

In this role, these particular ISPs are playing the role of the “helper”, offering encouragement whilst at the same time cutting the ground from beneath the feet of interims by adding so many people to their databases (in one case 200,000), that practically anyone who is alive and breathing is now able to call themselves an interim.

The Government also pretends to be “helpful” by coming out with targets that would give SMEs a shot at Government contracts (25% is the current target).

In reality, it (the Government) has achieved 8% on average over the past 22 years and in the case of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, less than 2%.

To add further insult to injury, it (the Government) treats each interim registering a limited company at Companies House and appointing themselves as a director as a “newly created job” and in fact does  so with anyone registering a new company irrespective of whether the company has traded or not. This is one of the reasons that unemployment is supposedly falling whilst recorded economic activity is falling at the same time and why experts find it difficult to make sense of the figures.

Interim management is expanding in America and Australasia and is in its infancy in Asia but here in the UK, it is being put to death by HMRC, the Cabinet Office, mendacious local authorities, intent on appeasing Capita and Serco and finding their recycled colleagues roles and by the NHS which is a closed- shop which rewards incompetence and failure on an industrial scale whilst paying lip service to patients.

Interims who are not connected or members of secret societies, who wish to succeed must think tangentially and more widely and do so fast, otherwise the future for them will be one of life on the bench, financial erosion, madness and eventual death.


I agree with John that people still in the market as “professional interims” need to think radically and to probably forget interim service providers, represented by the Interim Management Association. The market has become totally commoditized and true professionals need to remarket themselves as independent professionals, distancing themselves from the commodity/contractor market

Government spending

Government spending (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)



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4 responses

  1. Pingback: Reflections on my top 20 blogs in nearly three years of blogging « Dr Alf's Blog

  2. Pingback: The New CTO: Chief Transformation Officer – Daniel Burrus – Harvard Business Review « Dr Alf's Blog

  3. Pingback: The Death of the Interim Management Industry – Part 3 – Additional Responses « Dr Alf's Blog

  4. Pingback: Over-60s are told: go back to university and retrain – Telegraph « Dr Alf's Blog

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