According to research featured in Harvard Business Review, 2 out of 5 CEOs fail in their first 18 months. This alarming statistic is a clear indication that more needs to be done to set CEOs up for success. This is especially true for first-time CEOs, who are not only grappling with the practicalities of leading an organisation, but are often silently battling imposter syndrome and insecurity.

Passionately empowering the first-time CEO in his new book Become a Successful First-Time CEO, coach, mentor and former CEO David Roche has distilled decades of hands-on business leadership and coaching expertise into an accessible and strategic guide for those looking to thrive in the C-Suite.

Proudly a ‘why to…’ not a ‘how to…’ book, David delves into the mindset required for a successful first-time CEO. When assuming this position for the first time, it is not surprising that doubts and anxiety often arise, especially for those now managing former peers or colleagues. Balancing positivity with accountability, David guides the reader through silencing imposter syndrome and doubts so they can overcome hesitation and assume their inner captain.

Neatly structured so first-time CEOs can dip in as required, Become a Successful First-Time CEO outlines the stakeholders readers are going to have to manage to succeed. How they build people skills and strategically navigate interpersonal dynamics are the real tests of a successful CEO. What he dubs the “CEO Winner’s Circle”, the key relationships first-time CEOs need to manage include those upwards (including the board), direct reports, clients and partners, the industry and the media. A birds-eye view is fundamental for success, but David is keen to reiterate that every individual is different and there’s no set answer that can be applied in all cases to any category. The most effective CEOs are those that retain flexibility and play what is in front of them.


With a plethora of both practical business and coaching expertise, David shares many interesting anecdotes with the reader, making Become a Successful First-Time CEO an engaging and enjoyable read. Above all, by including his own missteps and obstacles, David’s stories mean the book is relatable as those in CEO positions are often concerned about how their actions are being perceived by others.

Imposter Syndrome is further intensified when the individual feels like they are going it alone. Similarly, without an independent sounding board for strategic decisions, first-time CEOs can be left with nowhere impartial to turn. Throughout the book, David argues the importance of external coaching and mentoring, particularly for first-time CEOs. Coaches offering a non-judgemental listening ear, or advice and guidance grounded in relevant experiences can bring real lightbulb moments for first-time CEOs who are often technically prepared to lead in their industry, but unprepared to navigate the psychological and emotional intricacies and impacts associated with the role.

Become a Successful First-Time CEO is the ideal roadmap to help any first-time CEO looking to develop the confidence and master the strategies they need to be an inspirational, strategic and dynamic corporate leader.