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Insight: Gerben van den Hout reflects on his time at Newpeople

2 July 2024

As Director of Executive Search, Gerben connects organizational challenges with the right leader. For years, he has been matching and connecting leaders at the C-level, Director level, MT level, and in supervisory roles. Gerben previously worked in the financial sector, where he played a foundational role in digital transformation.

The past period has been fruitful, with Newpeople filling numerous key positions for prominent companies. The diversity of companies and positions we’ve covered within the digital domain has been extensive and very interesting. Over the years, I have observed some significant changes within Newpeople.

One of the most notable changes is that we have become much more active in organizing events to strengthen and deepen our network. Many people in our network have specific experiences that other professionals can learn from, creating a kind of cross-pollination within our network. This makes it an effective way to connect people. We are constantly working on strengthening personal connections, which I see as a distinguishing factor of Newpeople. This personal approach makes Newpeople unique and helps us build strong relationships that are essential for successful Executive Search.

Additionally, there has been a significant increase in the number of senior management positions we handle. This demonstrates that companies can find us easily, thanks to our reputation and the performance we have shown within the digital domain.

An important lesson I have learned is the importance of decisiveness in moments of doubt. Despite my hesitation, I reached out to a private equity firm, which proved essential for the successful placement of a candidate. This taught me that sometimes you need to act on intuition, even when you have doubts.

It’s essential to bring your own uniqueness to the entire process with all involved parties. This ensures that your work and approach are felt as authentic and sincere by both the client and the candidates, ultimately achieving the best results.

A very recent example of a successful placement is filling the Head of Marketing position at ON THAT ASS. The success of this placement was due to the close collaboration and alignment with the candidates, the founders, and the HR manager, which allowed us to achieve a successful filling of the position together.

Recently, I conducted research on fractional C-suite executives, about which I will soon publish a paper to further discuss this market development. This is part of our effort to establish our position as a thought leader. A fractional C-suite executive is a part-time, outsourced role that fulfills the executive function for companies without the costs associated with a full-time, internal role. Traditional forms may not provide a tailored approach as effectively.

When a company is experiencing rapid growth, its needs sometimes do not scale evenly. Specialized high-end knowledge and executive experience may be required to help the company advance. There might not yet be financial room to hire such expertise at executive salaries for 40 hours a week. Additionally, they might not need the services of a C-suite executive full-time, but perhaps only for a few days or parts of days.

In certain phases of a company, they might instead need someone to fulfill this role for just a few hours a week. They bring in someone with the top-level experience they need without committing to the costs of having such a person on full-time staff. With the limited hours, the fractional executive focuses solely on C-level tasks, avoiding more operational activities. For the fractional executive, it is also very appealing to work exclusively at the top level. It’s a win-win for both parties.

As more issues are solved with Artificial Intelligence, a personal approach becomes increasingly important. This personal element will make the difference in the quality of our matches and the industry as a whole. It is increasingly about personally getting to know individuals, their qualities, experiences, and ideas. This aspect will become ever more important in our sector, as Frank Vogt recently emphasized in his keynote.

In the future, Newpeople’s role will continue to grow by maintaining this focus on personal interaction and enhancing the connections that result from it. This approach, combined with our expertise in C-level management, will continue to position us as thought leaders in the executive search industry.


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