Power Breakfast: CEO Succession Planning

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What happens when a CEO suddenly exits? Is there a plan in place for his or her succession? This panel discussed best practices and trends in how boards are addressing CEO succession scenarios. Because the CEO position is highly visible—the face of the company—CEO succession is a hot governance topic and the bar for this board responsibility is high. Boards must be prepared to deal with various situations: some CEOs may unexpectedly exit with little to no notice, while others might plan their retirement years in advance. The board must understand its options and play the appropriate role given the situation.

1. There is a high failure rate with external CEOs. It’s important to build an internal bench and have an internal candidate development planning process as an option. If your board doesn’t have one, consider putting one into place. This is not just about choosing the next CEO; it’s a way to measure internal talent.

2. Succession planning is an ongoing process. Talent oversight is one of the most important board responsibilities. The CEO is the “chief talent officer,” but the board should oversee the process.

3. Approach the process as “executive development” for as long as possible before the search gets to the “horse race” stage. Development doesn’t stop after you make your decision.

Joseph E. Griesedieck
Vice Chairman, Korn/Ferry International

Dave Heine
Executive Vice President, Board and C-Suite Practice, Leadership and Talent Consulting, Korn/Ferry International

This summary provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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