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The Right CEO: Straight Talk About Making Tough CEO Selection Decisions

ISBN: 978-0-7879-5585-4
224 pages
October 2001, Jossey-Bass
The Right CEO: Straight Talk About Making Tough CEO Selection Decisions (078795585X) cover image


The CEO selection and succession process is notoriously dysfunctional. Often, the wrong person is selected or the right person is put into a situation that blocks them from doing a good job. This is the first book on the topic to address the interrelationships between the five key groups in the CEO selection process--boards, HR executives, recruiters, CEOs, and CEO candidates. The authors also identify the fatal flaws in the current CEO selection systems and offer recommendations for creating a process that will guarantee the best leadership outcome possible. The book is filled with helpful insider examples and anecdotes to illustrate how this often ineffectual process can be righted.
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Table of Contents

Foreword (William W. George).


1. Why We Need a New Process Now.

2. When the Right Person Is Chosen by the Right People at the Right Time: My Blue Chip Search.

3. Real-World Issues: The Complexities That Foul Up the Selection Process.

4. The Psychologically Healthy CEO.

5. Boards: Selecting with the Shareholders in Mind.

6. Search Consultants: Seeking the Long-Term Fit Versus the Short-Term Fix.

7. The Candidates: Developing Savvy.

8. Chief Human Resources Officer: Demonstrating Capacity of Influence.

9. Problematic Scenarios: Situations and Events That Can Affect the CEO Selection Process.

10. Benchmarking the CEO Selection Process.

11. Evolution of CEO Selection: The Best Direction.


About the Author.

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Author Information

Frederick W. Wackerle has counseled CEOs and successfully recruited CEO successors, senior officers, and board members for top companies such as Biogen, Inc., Citicorp, Inc., FMC Corp, IMC Global, MassMutual, Medtornic, Inc., Playboy Enterprises, Inc., Textron, Inc., and Whirlpool Corp.
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"...the book is packed with suggestions and insight..." (Business Times, 2/02)

"Headhunters and any manager involved in senior selection should be queuing up to buy Frederick W Wackerle's book...will interest a wider readership than the boardroom..." (Professional Manager, May 2002)

"This is an indispensable handbook for boards of directors, current and would-be chief executives, investors, and anyone else who wants to make sure that a company has the best possible leader. Its advice is insightful, candid, and most of all very practical, with plenty of good and bad examples to help all of those who make CEO selections as well as those of us who just enjoy a glimpse into the inner workings of boards of directors."
— Nell Minow, editor, The Corporate Library

"Required reading for board members whose most important job is ensuring excellent CEO leadership, particularly in times of transition. Fred's book outlines fundamentals that are imperative to follow."
— Robert N. Burt, chairman and CEO, FMC Corporation, board member, Pfizer, Phelps Dodge, and chairman, Business Roundtable

"The Right CEO is a must read for CEOs, board members, potential CEOs, HR leaders, search consultants, and business school deans and professors. Wackerle knows in the gut and in his head about what he writes, and this book is a real contribution-full of unique insights, wisdom, and sound advice."
— Fred K. Foulkes, professor of organizational behavior and director, Human Resources Policy Institute, Boston University School of Management

"Every week the business press describes the impact of one failed appointment or another, these failures result from the sort of ineffective CEO appointment or transition process that Fred challenges decision makers to upgrade."
— Lawrence R. Phillips, retired vice president and senior human resource officer, Citigroup Inc.

"Selecting a CEO is the most important of all board responsibilities. This book should be required reading for all stakeholders before launching that process."
— James L. Vincent, chairman of the board, Biogen

"Fred Wackerle's book is both comprehensive and insightful. It should be a ready reference for any board member, incumbent CEO, human resource executive or CEO search consultant who wants clear, sound, practical advice on how to make those tough CEO selection decisions."
— Lewis Campbell, Chairman Textron, Inc.

"Fred Wackerle clearly succeeds in demythologizing the process for selecting The Right CEO. His book contains wisdom for the board, the search consultant, the HR officer, the incumbent CEO and the candidate too. The interrelationships among all these participants are the key to the right decision and a successful transition."
— Fred G. Steingraber, chairman emeritus, A.T, Kearney

"Fred Wackerle, the quintessential professional and consultant, has written a book that will become the conscience for all of us involved in CEO selection. Fred captures the essentials of what really happens . . .He's been there. He reveals the myths of the CEO succession process and why today it is broken-it's must reading for anyone who cares about the future of corporate leadership."
— Roger M. Kenny, managing partner, Boardroom Consultants

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