What experience does a Chief of Staff need?
Experience running a HNW household is key for this role. For instance, it might be that they’ve worked as a Private PA or EA before moving up. The Chief of Staff will supervise and support the rest of the household or office employees. This will involve dealing with new hires, their contracts and other HR matters such as company culture and employee wellbeing. A Chief of Staff will need to have good knowledge of working with budgets, rotas and excellent people management skills. Along with hiring the staff, Chief of Staff will also be responsible for training them.
Many HNWI have multiple residences in different countries, all of which could be overseen by one Chief of Staff. The running of these households will be the majority of the Chief of Staff’s role. Good logistical skills are required and flexibility to travel. The role can include travelling ahead of the Principal to make sure their residence is in perfect order before they arrive.
The Chief of Staff would be expected to have practical experience managing various types of portfolios. For instance, they might co-ordinate personal property, wine or art portfolios. Notably, liaising with people or businesses who represent them and reporting back. The Chief of Staff will also manage other key business and family relationships – organising meetings or acting as a representative on behalf of their employer. In addition, they might oversee the purchase of new luxury items like cars, jets or yachts and administrative tasks like organising insurance.
A solid background in finance will be expected because the Chief of Staff will manage the day to day expenditure of a household/office. This includes ordering and accounting for office supplies, IT equipment and other expenses. Liaising with an accountant or bookkeeper will also fall under the Chief of Staff’s remit, and producing weekly/monthly finance reports for the principal. The role can incorporate project management of refurbishments or building projects, dealing with tradespeople and suppliers.
Excellent communication skills, strong business acumen and discretion are key to becoming a Chief of Staff in a family office. Additional languages and a finance or business degree can also be beneficial.