Knowledge Center: Publication

CEO & Executive Succession Planning

The 2014 Report on Senior Executive Succession Planning and Talent Development

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The following publication was reposted with permission from the Institute of Executive Development (IED) and The Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University.

“The corporate leaders we interviewed all believe that succession is vitally important today, just as it has been in the past,” said Professor David Larcker of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. “Still, the majority do not think that their organizations are doing enough to prepare for eventual changes in leadership at the CEO and C-suite levels, nor are they confident that they have the right practices in place to be sure of identifying the best leaders for tomorrow. These findings are surprising, really, given the importance that strong leadership has on the long-term performance of organizations. Research shows that companies with sound succession plans tend to do better.”

“Most company directors greatly underestimate the difficulty, time, and cost associated with CEO and C-suite succession planning,” adds Scott Saslow, founder and CEO of The Institute of Executive Development. “They fail to recognize the need for a strategy for this critical business process, they haven’t had great exposure to what other organizations are doing, and they haven’t thought through what their own organization should be doing given its unique set of circumstances. This is more than lost upside opportunity. It puts many organizations at risk of having unstable executive leadership.”

In the fall of 2013, The Institute of Executive Development and the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University conducted in-depth interviews with executives and directors at 20 companies regarding their succession and executive development practices.