Who will be in charge of your company if the unthinkable happens? Reinforcing what we have seen in a number of high-profile cases, as well as studies from Stanford University’s Rock Center, Towers Watson and Korn /Ferry, among others, most companies do not have an effective CEO succession plan.
Farient’s Point of View
It is important for companies to look two to three years ahead and ensure that they are building a “pipeline” of talent. In our experience at Farient, successful succession planning is inextricably linked to compensation, which means the compensation committee should have a significant role in succession planning. Look at the skills, experience, and cultural values of the talent pool, and provide your internal candidates opportunities to showcase their talent.
How Farient Can Help
Only one candidate will become the CEO. Therefore, it is critical that the incentive/reward design support the succession process. Farient works closely with compensation committees to help them link succession planning to compensation. To ensure that succession planning becomes part of the company’s DNA, some approaches may include (1) linking a portion of the CEOs annual bonus to his/her proactive development of the designated internal candidates, (2) rewarding the designated candidates for enhancing their experience in key areas, and (3) providing special retention packages for those senior executives who were not designated as potential CEO successors.