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Inside CEO Succession: The Essential Guide to Leadership Transition

ISBN: 978-1-118-20321-7
256 pages
September 2012, Jossey-Bass
Inside CEO Succession: The Essential Guide to Leadership Transition (1118203216) cover image

Description

A comprehensive guide to planning for CEO succession, from the experts at RHR

As the demands from stakeholders for consummate leadership and good governance from a company's board of directors, its CEO, and its executive team increase, how the process of CEO succession is carried out has become more critical than ever before. Yet, over the past several years, a growing number of CEOs have failed early in their terms, often with devastating consequences to their companies and stockholders. By far the most common problem is a lack of ownership of the CEO succession process. Inside CEO Succession provides businesses, leaders, and boards with the strategies they need to execute their responsibilities with a heightened level of professionalism and ensure the sustained success of the companies they serve.

Written by Dr. Thomas J. Saporito, CEO of RHR International, and Dr. Paul Winum, Senior Partner of RHR International, the lessons of Inside CEO Succession are rooted in RHR's long-standing history of bringing expert knowledge, experience, advice, and counsel to the issues related to CEO succession. The culmination of RHR's 65 years of experience providing expert counsel to the boards of directors of hundreds of companies, it explains how ego, role-relationships, power, and human dynamics associated with relinquishing leadership, preparing successors, and ceding power and authority to other people create undetected problems in the succession process and ultimately cause many CEOs to fail early in their tenures.

  • Distills RHR's 65 years of experience helping businesses deal with CEO succession into one practical resource
  • Presents strategies to enable boards to understand their role in succession planning and how to source leadership that best fits their organization's culture and requirements
  • Brings together business acumen and psychological insight to help readers better prepare for more effective CEO succession

To be successful, CEO succession requires a well-defined course of action that ensures that a number of highly capable candidates are ready to assume the chief executive position whether through an unexpected event or a planned transition. Inside CEO Succession is designed to help boards comprehensively manage that process and effectively sustain their company's profitability.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Foreword: Douglas R. Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup Company xv

Introduction 1

Part I: Why CEO Succession Is More Critical than Ever 5

Chapter 1: From Checkers to 3-D Chess 7

Chapter 2: Success or Failure—The Cause and Cost 21

Chapter 3: Whose Job Is It, Anyway? 39

Chapter 4: RHR’s Essential Point of View 55

Part II: The 10 Key Dimensions of Effective Succession 71

Chapter 5: Establish Board Ownership, Involvement, and Oversight 73

Chapter 6: Set Succession Time Frames 89

Chapter 7: Prepare for Emergencies 105

Chapter 8: Align on Strategy and Profile 119

Chapter 9: Build the Talent Pipeline 131

Chapter 10: Source External Talent and Manage Search Firms 145

Chapter 11: Select the CEO 157

Chapter 12: Proactively Manage the Transition 169

Chapter 13: Measure Performance and Improve Process 187

Chapter 14: Manage the Dynamics in CEO Succession 197

Epilogue: Perspectives on the Future 205

Appendix: Ten Questions a Director Should Ask 213

About RHR International 219

References 221

Index 229

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Author Information

Dr. Thomas J. Saporito (Chicago) Ed.D., is chairman and CEO of RHR International. Widely recognized as an expert in CEO succession, he has specialized over the past 30 years in consulting with CEOs, boards of directors, and senior management on succession planning and top management leadership. He works closely with chief executives and senior management on accelerating business strategies by strengthening individual leadership and team-based performance. A former member of the NACD Blue Ribbon Commission on CEO Succession, his career has taken him throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Dr. Paul C. Winum (Atlanta, GA) Ph.D., is a senior partner with RHR International and serves as global practice leader–CEO Succession. He is a regular contributor to articles published in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and Forbes. In 2007, he was awarded specialty board certification in Organizational and Business Consulting Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology and was elected as a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.

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Press Release

November 02, 2012
Inside CEO Succession

CEO succession is more critical today than ever before as our global business environment now demands far greater leadership and governance from a company's board of directors, its CEO, and its executive team than at any other time in history. Yet, over the past several years, we have witnessed a growing number of CEOs failing early in their term, and in many instances, with devastating consequences to their companies and stockholders.

There are a number of reasons for such a high failure rate in leadership although the one cause common to most every failed leadership transition is the lack of ownership of the CEO succession process. Written by Dr. Thomas J. Saporito, CEO of RHR International, and Dr. Paul Winum, Senior Partner of RHR International, Inside CEO Succession is the culmination of RHR's 65 years' experience of providing expert counsel to the boards of directors of hundreds of companies on how to manage their CEO successions and improve the effectiveness of their organizations.

RHR, which as a firm is comprised entirely of consultant psychologists, understands the unrevealed realities of human behavior and motivation, such as factors of ego, role-relationships, power, and human dynamics associated with relinquishing leadership, preparing successors, and ceding power and authority to other people. These often-overlooked phenomena create undetected problems in the succession process and ultimately cause many CEOs to fail early in their tenures.

To be effective, CEO succession requires a well-defined course of action that ensures a supply of highly capable candidates are ready to assume the chief executive position whether through an unexpected event or a planned transition. Inside CEO Succession is offered to help boards comprehensively manage that process and effectively sustain their company's success. Paul Winum and Thomas J. Saporito have authored a seminal work that expertly combines years of business practice with a deep comprehension of human and organizational behavior and motivation, making Inside CEO Succession a highly informed work and blend of business acumen and psychological insight.

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