Boyden held their second Boyden Brief of 2023, discussing the topic of AI and ChatGPT with the interim executive community, and sharing updates on their international footprint, recent annual conference, and market trends across various sectors.

By Josh Blackman, Lisa Farmer, Daniel Harrison, James Hunt, Maleeha Khan, Claire Lauder

We held our second Boyden Brief of 2023 and this time, we asked the interim executive community to come prepared to discuss a topic that seems to have taken the world by storm - AI and the uses of ChatGPT. We were very fortunate to have an interim manager who has in-depth knowledge of this space and was able to share their insights, but more on that later.

The briefing was attended by Lisa Farmer, Managing Partner and Co-Global Interim Management Lead, Josh Blackman, Partner Healthcare, Pharma & Social Impact, Daniel Harrison, Technology, James Hunt, Partner PE & Business Transformation and Maleeha Khan, Interim Researcher.

Lisa Farmer gave an update on Boyden’s international footprint with the announcement of another Partner, York Von Massenbach, who has now joined our German colleagues in the interim practice. Lisa also shared an update on the recent annual Boyden conference in Madrid where 180 Partners attended and shared their learnings and best practice. Interim management was a key topic and is very much on the agenda for clients.

The feeling across our Global Partners was that we have worked on very senior mandates this year across all sectors with Private Equity in particular seeming to be quite active as they are reviewing their portfolios. The general consensus is that decision making is slower, but we continue to work on business critical roles.  

Josh has continued to be busy and has seen a higher demand for senior finance roles and reiterated that clients had taken longer to make decisions as more stakeholders were involved in key decision making, but the market is still looking positive for the second half of this year.

Daniel has seen more business and technical transformation roles which are business critical and has also seen an increase in fractional opportunities. His market has remained busier which was demonstrated by his work with key clients on challenging technical roles.

James shared that from a PE standpoint they have seen a slowdown in activity which has been impacted by higher interest rates, increased debt and the realisation of business valuations. PE companies have deep pockets and continue to look for businesses to acquire. The focus has been on existing investments and strengthening the senior leadership team as they prepare for exit or rapid turnaround.

We then asked the interims on the call a series of poll questions, during the webinar, to get their feedback and views on the economy:

We asked the interims about their view on the current economic outlook and 64% thought it was good or fair as opposed to 38% who thought it was poor at the moment. This is not unexpected given the current economic backdrop of rising interest rates, increased cost of living and inflation.

We then asked how confident the interims were in the overall economy’s performance for the rest of this year. The majority of interims (just under two thirds) who work across all sectors at senior business level were somewhat or very confident. This echoes the sentiment of many clients and contacts we have spoken to.

AI and ChatGPT

We then started the discussion on AI and ChatGPT and over half of the interims had used some sort of AI tool. Some interims shared that they thought there is definitely more hype about AI at the moment although it has been around for decades, everybody has started talking about it now. 67% of interims polled thought that the introduction of A1 was positive and progressive, however, the key question is what to do with it and how is it best deployed? Chat GPT only uses public information, so if a company wants to use it they will have to customise it to make it useful. Privacy issues need to be addressed and is a major concern for many businesses.

We are seeing more clients discussing the deployment of this technology and 84% of interims thought that for some businesses it would have an impact on automation of some job roles moving forward.

AI use seems to be a hot agenda point for board along with digital transformation and data. The interims threw caution into the mix and shared that they thought it was all about managing risk. It is exciting technology but there are risks associated with it and as it is deregulated at the moment, many businesses will need clear guidelines for use but will clearly embrace this technology long into the future.

If you are operating as an interim manager and would like to join the next Boyden Brief call, please email

If you or anyone in your network are seeking interim management support for a business or organisation, please do not hesitate to reach out to the team directly at 020 3651 6993 or visit

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