Corporate leadership's fundamental mission is to secure the company's future.
The aspect of this which is most susceptible to failure is that of succession. One reason is that this vital task cannot be left to the outgoing leader alone. Another is that succession challenges the desirability of continuity and can be highly sensitive. The integration of vision and organization, of goals and means is central to the personality of the leader. Even with the most rational and participative processes it will be different with a new leader. Any good leader will be inclined to seek continuity from a successor whilst any good successor will seek to put that continuity into question and to be different.
Every member of the board has a responsibility for corporate leadership succession, but the onus of initiation rests especially with the non-executives, whose primary role is to assure the quality of corporate leadership, including the ultimate responsibility of appointing or dismissing the chairman or chief executive.
Together with issues of role – and chairman and chief executive roles rarely afford simple or unchanging definitions – there are profound issues of vision strategy and style which must be addressed.
Ward Howell is able to assist in leadership succession and in the choice of the next chairman or chief executive, combining high level consultancy and executive search skills. Our distinctive approach and expertise focuses on the requirements in terms of role, style, personality and relationship behaviour. We profile candidates against these requirements and try to get judgmental issues out of the way.