I started to see a trend about 90 days ago – executives that were “done” two years ago are quietly coming back and letting me know they are “available.”
It turns out they can only play so much golf or ski so many runs before starting to go “stir crazy.” I have also heard that the “grand kids don’t want to spend any more time with me, they have friends!”
This population of very senior guys was not interested in full time work in 2007 or 2008 and would only be willing to do an occasional Board seat or advisory role for equity.
My take – their investments are down 30-40% or more and the equity has no prospects for liquidity in the next 24 months. Working for equity isn’t worth it given current conditions. They want to go back to work! They want to get paid for their value, in cash! This represents an extraordinary opportunity for the investment community to capture some talented veterans.
I have over 20 names on my white board right now and it is growing daily…
Charley Polachi is founder of Polachi & Co., a provider of executive search services to high-tech companies and their investors. He previously was managing partner for the Rt. 128 office of Heidrick & Struggles, which had acquired a search firm that Charley had co-founded called Fenwick Partners.