In search of the perfect person at the helm

A modern day hero or a figment of our imagination – does the perfect maritime CEO really exist? Mark Charman, the CEO of Faststream Recruitment Group, investigates.

In the modern world of maritime, with its ever changing landscape led by economic uncertainty and political unrest, the job of a maritime CEO has never been more difficult. The demands, expectations and trust placed on a CEO to steer a business successfully through these challenging times are at an all-time high. From proven industry experience to specialist skills and excellent personal qualities, the picture we paint of the perfect CEO could be likened to a superhuman. The reality is that the perfect person rarely exists, but there are some key attributes that will get them well on the way. Here is what organisations tell me they are looking for in the (nearly) perfect CEO.

Cost conscious

Organisations must have their finger on the pulse when it comes to running a lean business and this buck stops with the CEO. They must be well-versed about the running costs within their business, from top to bottom, and should be the driving force behind asking, and answering the questions; “Do we need it?” or “can we get it cheaper?” Operating lean is not about cost cutting or being under resourced, it’s about maximising profits in the good and bad times.

Profit leader

The main focus of a CEO must be with the results of the business. A great CEO will be on top of their numbers because without this, the business will not move forwards. They must be results orientated which is not just about the ‘hear and now’ results of the business, but having a broader perspective on where future profits will come from tomorrow, next week, next month and next year.

Laser-like focus

A maritime CEO will have to navigate distractions, turmoil and every other possible eventuality that their business or the market throws at them. The unexpected will happen inside and outside of their business but they have a job to do and objectives to meet. They’ll be able to maintain complete focus on the job in hand regardless of what’s going on around them.


The maritime industry is not for the feint heated and a CEO will need to be brave about the way they run and develop their business. A great CEO will be flexible enough to roll with the punches whilst thinking and acting strategically and having the courage of their convictions.

Global perspective

There’s arguably no other industry which operates on a more global stage and the same should apply to a CEO. They should be culturally adept, have a brilliant global perspective and the ability to look at the bigger picture and spot opportunities and threats. This doesn’t mean it’s necessary for the perfect CEO to have worked in all seven continents, but they do need to have a genuine knowledge of how their business can expand in different parts of the world, how their product or service may need to be adapted and what ROI they expect in return for these efforts.

Entrepreneurial spirit

Entrepreneurs don’t always make the best CEO’s, but having an entrepreneurial spirit with the skills and knowledge to match their ambition almost certainly will. Entrepreneurs are creative, adaptable, open to change and quick to spot opportunities. A perfect CEO will need to have a combination of all this on top of the knowledge and skills they need to do their job.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ model for the perfect CEO, but whether you’re a current CEO or you’re looking to be one in the future, the tips may help you become successful.


  1. A careful & in depth choice of Quality Executive Characteristics.

    Enjoyed Emphasis on Laser-like Focus & Bravery.

    If I may add on more QEC: “In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”.

    Thank you.

  2. I would like to add some knowledge, or curiosity on digitalisation to the attributes you need. If you don’t have the insight yourself, make sure to find someone you can listen to and rely on to give you good advice. Now.

  3. We’re grateful to have many great CEO’s around. But no one (including a CEO) is perfect. Doesn’t have to be a genius either. Make things 10x better (not just profit but value for all stakeholders) than they were before. Start with why. The mindsets and skills will follow.

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