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Stanton Chase CEO Census 2010 Leading in Challenging Times – Bulgaria

General Overview

Loyalty to industry

Experience as CEO

First of all, we would like to thank all managers who joined us in our attempt to draw a general though consistent picture of the way the economic situation has influenced their hopes and expectations for professional development.

It seems that slightly more than half of our respondents are willing to consider a change of their current industry, although only a third of them point out better general conditions as a reason for that. We suppose that the downsize in some sectors such as the Industrial and the Construction/ Real Estate ones might have influenced such an outlook on professional development opportunities.

1. How many years have you been in a senior managerial role? Managers with experience of over five years prevail.

As a whole we are glad to say that CEOs in Bulgaria take the crisis seriously, are not easily discouraged and have both feet on the ground. Most of our respondents have experience in various sectors, with a slight predominance of the Consumer Services & Products one. They are objective, even critical, about the overall level of general management and business development skills in the country and are willing to invest their time and energy into identifying new opportunities for their businesses. Judging by their answers, which follow, we can say they feel confident enough to steer their companies through hard times. Nevertheless, there are some concerns regarding management as a profession – some expatriate CEOs strongly recommend that it should undergo further development and gain greater credibility as owners do not always prove to be the best managers and leaders. Among the other areas for improvement expatriates identify are fair people management, forecasting and proactive change in anticipation of events.

Profile of our respondents 150 top executives took part in the survey. The age of the majority of our respondents ranges from 30 to 50. The younger prevail slightly – they form 42,4 % of the respondents vs. 35,3 % for 40-49 years old. Only 18.8% are over 50. Men dominate with an 84.7 % participation in the survey. Most of our respondents are in charge of companies with a turnover of 5 000 000 Euros and above (60 %) and more than a third of them manage teams of 50 and less than 50 employees (40 %).

The level of stress, salary/ benefit cuts and employee lay-offs are amongst the factors our respondents have learnt to accept as inevitable during hard times – there are objective reasons for that: most of them have pointed out that they have enough trouble to sustain a stable cash flow.

Economic slowdown Some of our respondents accept the current situation as a part of a normal economic cycle, although they admit that due to some local specifics it is tougher, more painful and more difficult to handle in Bulgaria. A local manager is anxious that the effect the global crisis has on open economies like ours is usually stronger and lasts for longer, so it is not easy to predict how long it will take to fully recover from it. According to a foreign manager, it wasn’t difficult to predict a general crisis in the country even in 2007.

Consumer Products & Services Technology Financial Services Life Science & Health Care Professional Services Energy Sector Industry Other Construction/ Real Estate Logistics & Transport

ov 3 1

28.2% 8.2%



over 5 years 3 - 5 years 1 - 3 years

Expectations Less than half of the managers are optimistic about next year. The prevailing number either expects stagnation or deepening of the crisis as a result of worsening economic conditions in Western European countries and the USA.



Industries 2. What industry do you work in? Most of our respondents come from the Consumer Products & Services Sector. The majority, though, is formed by managers from the following sectors: Technology, Financial Services, Life Science & Health Care, Professional Services and the Energy Sector.

3. In Products your opinion, Consumer & Serviceswhich sector(s) has seen the greatest improvement in the quality and development Technology of employees, compared to previous year? Financial Services Very predictably, IT is identified as the most developed Life Science & Health Care sector. Finance takes second place, followed shortly by Professional Services Sales andEnergy Marketing & PR. Sector Industry Other Construction/ Real Estate Logistics & Transport

Economic slowdown IT Finance do you think has suffered the worst 4. Which industry Sales crisis? Marketing/ Not surprisingly,PRthe Construction & Real Estate sector takes first place.HR It is interesting that less than half consider Supply Chain/ Industry asLogistics a sector with considerable problems. General Management Business Development Production Quality Assurance

Consumer Products & Services Technology Financial Services Life Science & Health Care Professional Services Energy Sector Industry Other Construction/ Real Estate Logistics & Transport

25.9 15.3 10.6 10.6 9.4 9.4 7.1 5.9 4.7 1.2

IT Finance Sales Marketing/ PR HR Supply Chain/ Logistics General Management Business Development Production Quality Assurance

41.0 34.9 28.9 27.7 22.9 21.7 14.5 9.6 8.4

Construction/ Real Estate




Logistics & Transport

29.4 22.4

Financial Services Professional Services Consumer Products & Services Technology



17.6 16.5 10.6

Energy Sector


Life Science & Health Care


Functions Construction/ Real Estate

and skills Opportunities to create new solutions Industry 5. In which of the following functions you independence Level ofdo autonomy/

believe there is shortage of skills in Bulgaria? Logistics & Transport Level of responsibility

More than half identify the business development Financial Services Good cooperationand with superiors

generalServices management functions as areas for further Professional improvement.

Job security

Consumer Products & Services Technology Energy Sector Life Science & Health Care

Business Development General Management Sales HR Production Quality Assurance Supply Chain/ Logistics Marketing/ PR Finance IT

65.9 Creativityaction Implementation of imposed solutionsTaking 61.2 opportunities because of the crisis9. What Flexibility do Limited business

you think is the most important to do in this business year? in Change Management No possibility Experience to develop employees cash flow seems to be the first priority of Decisiveness Level of stressStable most CEOs. Collecting due receivables and business Orientation towards strategy Salary and benefit cuts restructuring occupy half of them. Although talent Lay-offs Risk taking discovery is inevitably pushed down the scale of importance, still approximatly half of the respondents identify it as a crucial goal.

29.4 28.2 25.9 22.4 20.0 17.6 15.3 5.9

6. Which competences and skills are expected from

Business Development Creativity CEOs/ top managers in Bulgaria in the General Management Flexibility period of crisis? Sales Experience in Change Management CEOs stress the importance of creativity first, followed HR Decisiveness by flexibility and experience in change management. Production o create new solutions Implementation of imposed solutions Orientation towards strategy Decisiveness in itself is pointed out as a crucial quality Quality Assurance onomy/ independence Limited business opportunities because of the crisis by less than half of our respondents. Risk taking Supply Chain/ Logistics Level of responsibility No possibility to develop employees Marketing/ PR peration with superiors Level of stress Finance Job security Salary and benefit cuts IT

56.5 50.6 41.2 30.6 16.5


7. Which factors influenced most your job Flexibility satisfaction and motivation in the previous year? ce in Change Management Quite in the vein of the answers of the previous Decisiveness question, the majority recognize opportunities rientation towards strategynew solutions and level of autonomy/ to create Risk taking independence as the two most important factors in job satisfaction.

Opportunities to create new solutions

76.5 64.7

Level of autonomy/ independence 47.1

Level of responsibility 32.9

Good cooperation with superiors Job security


68.2 50.6

Level of responsibility Business restructuring Good cooperation with superiors Discovering talents

50.6 48.2

Jobreduction security Cost

43.5 23.5

Employee retention Keeping the existing level of salaries


Salary and benefit cuts


Employee dismissal


Opportunities to create new solutions



Key motivation factors

Opportunities to createstable new solutions Sustaining cash flow Level of autonomy/ independence Collecting due receivables

10. Do you think you could have predicted the crisis? Level of autonomy/ independence It is interesting that while most CEOs claim they could not Level of responsibility have foreseen it, those who answered positively have a Good cooperation with superiors very particular opinion about the state of our economy SustainingJob stable cash flow security and the way it was influenced by the global crisis. Some of Collecting due receivables them explain it with local reasons such as: Business restructuring • large concentration of investments in some industries at Discovering talents the expense of others (i.e. the bubbles in the real estate Cost reduction market and the renewable energy sector) Employee retention • poor privatization and lack of strategic investors Keeping the existing level on of salaries • overreliance cost cutting and benefits at the expense Salary and benefit cuts of productivity dismissal regulation combined with high • lack ofEmployee EU compatible level of gray and black market • lack ofofstrategy to financial problems Implementation imposed due solutions

Implementation of imposed solutions Limited business opportunities because of the crisis No possibility to develop employees Level of stress Salary and benefit cuts Lay-offs



Sustaining stable cash flow

Limited business opportunities because of the crisis

Collecting due receivables

No possibility to develop employees

Business restructuring

Level of stress

Discovering talents

Salary and benefit cuts

Cost reduction


Employee retention Keeping the existing level of salaries Salary and benefit cuts Employee dismissal

Implementation of imposed solutions

Sustaining stable cash flow

ed business opportunities because of the crisis

Collecting due receivables

No possibility to develop employees

Business restructuring

Level of stress

Discovering talents

8. Which factors contributed to the Salary and benefit cuts reate new solutions lack of motivation in your job in the omy/ independence previous year? Lay-offs evel of responsibility It seems that managers do not feel much support when it comes to implementing ation with superiors their own solutions. Logically, this Job security condition shares equal weight with limited business opportunities because of the crisis.

Implementation of imposed solutions

Cost reduction


Sustaining stable cash flow

Employee retention


Collecting due receivables

Limited business opportunities because of the crisis Keeping the existing level of salaries No possibility to develop employees Level of stress

Salary and benefit cuts


Employee dismissal

Salary and benefit cuts Lay-offs



11. Do you think you have taken all necessary measures in running the business under changed circumstances? The majority are confident they have managed to handle business situations accordingly.


Business restructuring Discovering talents Cost reduction Employee retention Keeping the existing level of salaries Salary and benefit cuts Employee dismissal




12. What prevented you personally to act more decisively? Half the respondents do not regret their decisions and only a quarter of them feel restricted by their superiors.

15. If yes, what would be the reason? There is no prevailing answer to this question. However, one third would search for better opportunities and 20 % are in the condition of considering starting their own business.

3.8 9


30.9 20

11.5 50

There were no bad decisions Superiors Insecurity Poor judgement Fear of making mistakes


Optimism 13. What do you think the next business year – 2011 – will bring us? It seems that CEOs are somehow divided when it comes to forecasting what follows from here onwards – less than a half hope for progress and a bit less than one third expect stagnation.

16. Have you contacted executive search agencies? It is interesting that half the respondents answer negatively and the other half have either contacted headhunters or are considering it.




15.3 43.5

14. Have you been thinking of changing the industry? Both answers might have their logical explanations – on the one hand managers from the more heavily struck by the crisis sectors might be looking for new opportunities. On the other hand, the more reluctant to change the industry might just be waiting for better times.



Progress Stagnation Deepening on the crisis/ the economic situation in Western Europe and North America Cannot predict

Career Change

Better general conditions Other Private business I am not satisfied with the present strategy I do not see a perspective in my current industry




No Yes I have been thinking about it


About Stanton Chase Stanton Chase International is a specialized global executive search consultancy firm of first choice to multinational companies. The firm offers high quality tailored services to help its clients find and assess top managers. Established in 1990, Stanton Chase operates with truly integrated resources of 70 offices in 43 countries. In recent surveys, Stanton Chase is ranked among the top 10 leading international executive search firms by size, stature and reputation. Stanton Chase is a member of the international Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) and strictly adheres to its ethics and code of conduct.

Stanton Chase Sofia Stanton Chase Sofia was founded in the beginning of 2006 to focus purely on retained executive search. Since 2009 we have also been offering leadership assessment to meet the needs of companies facing processes such as mergers and acquisitions, strategic repositioning and organizational restructuring. Utilizing cutting-edge online psychometric evaluation tools as well as various assessment methodologies, we ensure timely and effective evaluation of the best candidates from defined target markets whilst focusing on retained, long-term partnerships.

Our team The Stanton Chase Sofia team consists of highly qualified and industry specialized consultants and researchers with functional expertise. We have a very good understanding of both the specifics of the economical and business processes in the country and the local market situation. Our team combines the knowledge and expertise of the experienced consultants together with the potential of young talents.

Our specialized fields We provide sector expertise in the following seven dynamic market sectors: - Consumer Products & Services - Financial Services - Industrial - Life Sciences & Health Care - Natural Resources & Energy - Professional Services - Technology

22, Zlaten Rog Street, 3rd floor, Office 6, 1407 Sofia, Bulgaria Phone: +359 2 962 2931, +359 2 962 1986 Fax: +359 2 962 8347 e-mail:

CEO Survey 2010 - Stanton Chase Bulgaria  
CEO Survey 2010 - Stanton Chase Bulgaria  

A survey Stanton Chase Bulgaria conducted among top executives of Bulgarian and international companies in all economic sectors in the count...