Hiring Strategy in the Face of Restructuring

Interim Executive Solutions

Jim RudmanInterim Executive SolutionsBy Jim Rudman, CEO, Ashton Tweed

See this article on LinkedIn.


There are many reasons for a business to restructure, whether the goal is to solve a problem or prepare the company for future events. Regardless of the situation, those leading the restructuring must plan ahead about which hiring strategy will suit their needs.


Once the main goals are set, there are a few steps that need to be taken in order to idealize your new team structure. The following 5 steps will help move the process along thoroughly and efficiently:


1. Who don’t you need?

Whether the restructuring requires major layoffs or the reorganization of departments, determine which positions are no longer needed to achieve your new goals.

2. Who do you need?

Communicate with your staff about your new leadership needs and the most efficient roles that can fulfill those needs.

3. Can you find these people internally or not?

Discuss your hiring options with your HR department or senior leadership team and find out how best to fill your gaps.

4. Select the best professionals for each new role.

Discern a timeline for the hiring process and make hiring decisions based on who will add value to the company. In the meantime, don’t neglect your current staff – help aid them during the transition.

5. Monitor these positions for success and reevaluate if needed.

Not all hires are home runs and sometimes you need to make quick choices to keep things moving smoothly. Therefore, keep an eye on new hires and help guide them as required.


Having partnered with many leaders through their restructuring plans, I know how complex the process can be. Often, leaders are faced with some tough decisions. For example, see how Dr. Francois Nader, previously CEO of NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc., addressed the difficulties of restructuring his company in order to succeed:


“In phase one of the turnaround, we took the company from 425 people down to about 200 people and closed one of the company’s four sites. […] So the first phase was making sure that we kept the company running and stopping and thinking about what we could do next.”

“In the second phase, […] I had developed a plan for how to restructure the company, but also to build new vision and a new mission to focus NPS on rare diseases by repurposing our two products from large indications to very small orphan indications.”

“We adopted a strategic outsourcing model, which took us from about 200 people down to 17 people. We also shut down our in-house research capabilities. We transformed the NPS business model from a fully integrated pharmaceutical company to a strategic outsourcing model […] Then I built NPS back up to 40 people and eventually to 350 by the time we sold the company to Shire.”


During times of transition, it is often beneficial to apply a flexible hiring strategy that perfectly fits your company’s needs. Above, Dr. Nader used an outsourcing model to get his company through the changeover. In the case study summary below, see how interim placement helped my client, a biopharmaceutical company, during their restructuring.


A small biopharmaceutical company building its drug portfolio encountered some manufacturing issues and required a Quality Control expert to review and upgrade its manufacturing operations.

Since the client company was in the process of restructuring, they utilized a hiring solution called interim placement whereby the selected quality control candidate could begin his work as a contractor and then convert to a full-time employee if desired.

The candidate placed was able to analyze the company’s manufacturing process and pinpoint solutions. Now hired permanently, his ongoing work continues to help the company through its next phases and subsequent goals.


Restructuring, especially in a technical field like the life sciences, can be a difficult process that requires planning several steps ahead. Hiring strategy is a critical consideration in these circumstances, because poor hiring and staff decisions can be both costly and time-consuming. As the CEO of an executive search firm, I’d advise leaders to familiarize themselves with all of their hiring options before developing a restructuring plan and executing it.


Looking for further guidance? Send me an email to get a conversation started.


Share your insights! Contact jamesrudman@ashtontweed.com to contribute your life sciences article as a guest writer.


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