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“There is no frontrunner so far”: Becher Talks Sharks GM Search

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San Jose Sharks president Jonathan Becher characterized the organization’s search for a new GM as in the first period, but well beyond the first shift yesterday.

“There is no frontrunner so far,” he said of a list that currently includes roughly 20-25 candidates.

Becher shared that the San Jose Sharks have had preliminary phone or Zoom conversations with 10-12 candidates, with more to follow.

He noted that playoff results could affect the search too. Some potential GM candidates are currently working for NHL teams in the playoffs, and some of those organizations have asked those candidates not to interview until the off-season.

Becher indicated that the Sharks expect to have two to four conversations with the most intriguing candidates.

They haven’t held any in-person interviews yet.

Becher’s guess is that the San Jose Sharks should have four to five “real serious” GM candidates by the end of May.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Sharks will hire someone shortly thereafter though – also keeping in mind that the playoffs will still be going.

“We’ve been pretty clear. We’re going to wait for the right person as opposed to force a timeline,” Becher reminded us. “Joe [Will] has also said in a perfect world, the official start of the next fiscal year, mid-July, we’d like to have someone in place. But if it doesn’t work out, we’ll get it done late July, early August.”

Becher on Interviewing Executives in Hockey, Tech

Becher is spearheading the GM search committee, in tune with Sharks interim GM Joe Will and owner Hasso Plattner.

Prior to joining San Jose in Jan. 2018, Becher spent a decade at SAP in a number of senior positions, including Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Digital Officer.

I was curious how interviewing a potential NHL GM is different than interviewing executives in other industries.

“There are a lot of similarities, and of course, there are some differences,” Becher observed. “Leadership, culture, ability to react under pressure, some of those things aren’t fundamentally different in business than they are in hockey.

“But hockey IQ is different than business IQ. So for a lot of the very deep hockey things, I’m relying on Joe [Will] and others as well. But for the general executive things, ability to build a team, that person may make some changes as well, 70 to 80 percent the same, but not exactly the same.

“And you get a sense of somebody when you interview, by what questions they don’t really want to answer and what questions they do want to answer. That doesn’t change much interviewing executives.”

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