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Publicly traded companies and the task of succession planning

As we’ve pointed out in previous posts on this blog, succession planning is an important task for every company to ensure its success during and after times of transition. A common theme in all effective succession planning is that it has to be started sooner rather than later and to remain and ongoing task. This is just as true for publicly traded companies as it is for closely-held companies.

Even good planning, though, is not always enough to ensure that a company makes a smooth and successful transition. For corporations, just as important as laying out a well-planned process for candidate selection is to ensure that the right individual is selected. Effective succession planning requires not only setting up the process which allows a company to put strong potential leaders in key positions, then, but also ensuring that the right candidate receives the support needed to lead effectively

One issue that boards of directors need to address is that their CEO may not be with them as long as they assume. In today’s job market, CEO tenures are often shorter than they have been in years past, requiring corporations to go through the search process more frequently. One way companies can take advantage of this fact is to conduct annual evaluations regarding the fitness of the current CEO to effectively address the goals and needs of the company. If the current CEO is deficient, the search for a new leader should begin, regardless of how long they have been with the company or how long they expect to be there.

Another issue companies have to address in succession planning is whether to hire a new CEO from outside the company or from within its ranks. Although though there is a strong case to be made for keeping succession internal, there may be cases where a company needs fresh blood to ensure its success.

Succession planning is not something companies have to go at alone. Our firm is able to provide the insight and guidance companies need to have the best possible chance of ensuring a smooth transition process.

Source: CKGSB Knowledge, “Succeeding with Succession Planning in Public Companies,” Bennett Voyles, Feb. 18, 2015. 

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