Board’s role in planning for a smooth executive transition
Switching to a new CEO, or any C-Suite executive, can be a traumatic experience for a business – but it doesn’t have to be. Companies can ensure continuity by addressing succession proactively, even if the resulting discussions are uncomfortable. Corporate Counsel recently explained the steps behind executive succession without leading a company into a period of instability. (Apr. 4, Fidel)
Board members, and anyone in a position to advise the board, should step into the process, and it should go beyond the CEO to encompass other key leaders within the organization. At least once a year, the board should come up with estimates on when critical roles may turn over and whether it’s better to find a replacement from within or outside the organization.
During these discussions, board directors should do more than just make lists of potential replacements. It pays to draw up professional development strategies to bring internal candidates into expanded roles should they be called upon.
All of this planning, though it may make the board or executives slightly ill at ease, is important to ensure transitions don’t damage the company’s momentum. Scrambling to deal with a change in senior executive when no groundwork has been laid can leave an organization in dire straits.
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