Consciously choosing to operate without a CEO can also free up resources that could be better used elsewhere in the company, Moore adds. Can the money earmarked for CEO's salary, bonuses and other compensation be used to hire better executives in other departments like marketing and sales to drive faster and greater market growth? Or, he says, more software developers, engineers and/or designers to get solutions and products to market faster? Or even a larger customer service and support team to make sure customer experience is top-notch?
"Here's the thing -- we are not against having a CEO, at all. If we happened across someone who would be perfect and complement what we're already doing, then obviously we would love that. But the takeaway, I think, is that you have to find a perfect fit; don't force yourself to hire someone just because you think you're supposed to," Moore says.
Up in the air
For Charles "Chick" Gregg, co-founder of luxury air charter company Air Unlimited, the decision to operate without a CEO was more personal than business.
"We formed in 2013 as an LLC, and while my co-founder and I are both managing members, my intent wasn't ever to be involved full-time in managing a business; this, for me, was more an investment into a passion of mine after I formally retired," he says. The only titles assumed are those required of them and their employees by the FAA, which helps maintain the focus on serving customer needs and making sure clients are satisfied and happy, Gregg says.
"We're much more concerned with our customers' satisfaction than who has what fancy title, or who got a big customer win -- none of that corporate competition stuff here!" he says.
With a smaller company like Air Unlimited, which has about twenty employees and ten contract pilots, it's easier to be laissez-faire about organizational structure and hierarchy, says Gregg. Air Unlimited uses a similar, group-decision-making approach to that of Moore's Solodev, with one of the founders stepping in if a final decision can't be reached by group consensus.
"The philosophy I've always had about leadership is that we're all part of this organization, so we all have to pitch in. When we talk about changing our pricing structure, or adding new routes, or anything company-related, we sit down and hash it out together. Sometimes it requires one of us to step up and make that final call, but usually we can reach an agreement quickly," Gregg says.
Say 'no' to a CEO?
With plans to grow Air Unlimited over the next few years, Gregg says the need for a more formal management structure -- including a CEO -- might become necessary; for now, though, the lack of a chief executive certainly hasn't been a hindrance.
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