Does sector experience matter ?
Would you choose a house builder to build a boat ? Probably not. The number one priority in boat building is that it is stable in the water and water tight. Those are not considerations your house builder has in the key requirements.
But what about accounting and business services ? Could the finance team support the boat builder just as effectively as the housebuilder ? When you break it down, the answer is a slightly qualified - yes. the key tasks are the same, and while the terminology used may be different, and some of the KPIs may also be different, these can often be assimilated quickly.
A facile analogy ? Perhaps. What sets apart experienced executives and successful interims is not, however, their sector knowledge, but their approach to the task and the methods of analysis and ways of problems solving that they bring to the task. Together with a sense of urgency, checking their ego's at the door; and a hands-on, focused approach.
Marry this with sector experience and you may have the perfect ingredients for a successful assignment. But take the sector knowledge without the 'seasoning' and approach, and you may not get the results you expect, in the time scale you need.