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Benitez interim manager status was “massive mistake”

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On Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Chelsea football club’s manager, Rafael Benitez announced he will leave the club in May stating the decision to give him the title “interim manager” was a “massive mistake” given to him to ensure the club could “wash its hands” of him if he failed to deliver against the terms of his contract.

Credited by many expert observers for establishing the Interim Management industry in the UK and taking an exception to Mr Benitez using the words “massive mistake” alongside “Interim Manager”, Russam GMS' Chairman, Charles Russam says, “The remarks made by Benitez indicate a misconception of the role of an interim manager. Interim professionals are highly skilled individuals hired for their specialist skills and experience to deliver a specific role or fill in a senior level gap. They are commonly over qualified for such roles and as such are highly sought after by top employers.”

“True interims are not ‘trial’ or ‘acting managers’ which was the role Benitez was in. Chelsea owner Abramovich might have said he wanted an ‘interim manager’ however, this was the wrong term to use. Benitez was an ‘acting’ manager – someone trying out the role, who actually wanted it permanently, not an interim manager. “In our experience, most interims have no desire to become full time employees – they see interim management as a career in itself and their independence, experience and professionalism is their cache and the reason businesses hire them.”

The interim management industry is growing steadily in spite of the flat economy and is expected to be worth £2 billion by 2015 according to figures published by the IMA (Interim Management Association). Charles Russam continues, “Interim isn’t a derogatory word. Interims are effectively ‘sprint CEOs’ and proven specialists in their field. They provide a flexible, low risk and strategic labour force that can be cost effective and turned on and off to suit an organisation’s exact requirements. “Interims are not simply there to hold the fort or try out a role, they offer so much more. We are celebrating 30 years in business this year and our success has been built on the fact that interim managers deliver and contribute huge value to businesses.”

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