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CEO Turnover Drives Need for Succession Planning

Click here to see a list of recent CEO turnover, from 2014 through May 2017

Succession planning begins in a high performance organization when it is determined that leadership changes in the C-Suite, especially for the CEO, are expected or anticipated as far out as possible. It is a decision a CEO must share with the highest level of confidentiality, sometimes only with a board president or an executive committee. 

Since any thought of a succession plan, especially for a CEO, would have a significant impact on the organization, carefully thought and strategy must go into the development of  plan of action, with flexible timelines and careful consideration of the culture and chemistry of the people involved. 

NPPN has developed these succession plan guidelines, in four stages which are timeline flexible, per each organization's needs:

Step 1: Information Gathering/Research

Step 2: Market Analysis

  • One-on-one interviews with the current CEO

  • One-on-one interview with the current board chair

  • Group interview with the executive committee

  • Analysis of current strategic business plan

  • Review of all C-Suite employee job descriptions

  • One-on-one meetings with all C-Suite employees

  • Extensive research on competitive CEO and other C-Suite salaries

  • Potential realignment of agency's organizational chart to align with future business growth

  • Private interviews with top funding sources and other prominent stakeholders, to determine what the reaction might be in the market, about the organization's succession

Step 3: Working with internal staff and/or heir apparent

  • First, determine if there are any likely successors to the CEO, based on research done in phase one of this plan

  • Invest in bench strength by researching and recommending continuing education options to help buffer any skill-sets others on the C-Suite team might need to retain them within the organization

  • Develop a communications plan, internally focused, on how to keep all information confidential about the organization's plan of action, especially as any announcement is made about the CEO's plans (usually 12-18 months in advance of a retirement announcement)

  • Begin an analysis of the outside market for C-suite employees, in case any top leaders leave, in advance of a CEO's departure

Step 4: Preparing for an executive search

  • Work with executive committee on best role for the outgoing CEO, citing best industry practices

  • In advance of a search, conduct a market student of the potential candidate pool, across all sectors, to help educate the executive search committee about expectation in filling the position

  • Develop a timeline for the succession plan, at least a year or two ahead of time, and allow a full year to prepare for, conduct, and conclude the search process for the CEO

  • Work with the executive committee to determine what impact changing the CEO will have on the organizational chart (who else might leave, etc.)

  • Post-search services would include on boarding of the new executive, as well as benchmarking success of the transition per the board, staff, and CEO viewpoints

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