Current CEO’s expertise can play important role in choosing successor

August 13, 2019

Many directors are often worried that succession planning will offend the current CEO and, consequently, end up scrambling in the end to find a replacement. Partner Adrienne DiPaolo has told the Director Journal’s column Directors’ Dilemma that “boards should start CEO succession planning early—well before a transition is on the horizon—to enable a more robust process.”

The column poses the question to readers, “My board is reluctant to discuss CEO succession—they are worried about offending our current CEO. How can I convince them to take a more proactive approach to succession planning?”

Adrienne believes that not only starting the plan earlier is a more robust approach but it will also “allay any anxiety about offending the current CEO”.

“Boards shouldn’t shy away from leveraging the current CEO’s expertise, particularly early in the succession process. The CEO’s views—including thoughts on the skills, competencies and qualities required—should inform the board’s design of the new CEO profile and selection criteria. The CEO also plays a key role in developing and evaluating the internal pipeline of candidates,” she told the publication.

“The CEO’s involvement should taper off over time as the board’s search process becomes more focused.”

The article was published in the ICD magazine Director Journal.

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