People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 50

Linking Theory + Practice
When the CEO Exits:
A HiPo Strategy for Leadership Succession
By Bradley Winn

T

he spotlight on corporate governance continues to shine as
calls increase for evaluating the
effectiveness of boards of directors.1
At issue is the fiduciary responsibility
of boards and their relationships with
top management teams. "Poor corporate governance has ruined companies, resulting in directors being sent
to jail, destroyed a global accounting
firm, and threatened economies and
governments."2
At a time when boards of directors
are increasingly in the hot seat, recent
research has shown that boards are at
a disadvantage when it comes to carrying out their most important responsibility - selecting the CEO. A key
barrier is the lack of access directors
have to critical information about high
potential successors, both internal and
external to the firm.
Interestingly, the average length
of tenure for a CEO is only about five
years, which means boards are dealing with CEO succession on a fairly
regular basis. Given this short turnover cycle, directors, TMT members,
and HR executives should be involved
in CEO succession processes in an
ongoing manner as they prepare and
develop high-potential employees to
take the helm.
"As business models transform, and
as careers and the very design of work
evolves, we need to also understand
where and how the application of
potential assessment and development
is also changing."3 Assessment, early
identification, and development of
those who will replace the CEO is a key
priority for boards.
Yet, the facts show that directors,
who are not immersed in the day-today affairs of the firm, are reliant upon
the CEO and top management team
for information. Often there are barri-

50

PEOPLE + STRATEGY

ers that make it difficult for directors
to carry out their important responsibilities related to CEO succession.
Given this, boards and management
are looking for better ways to identify
and prepare high-potential leaders to
step up when the CEO steps down.
In this installment of "Linking
Theory to Practice," we review a new
research study that addresses the
challenge of CEO succession. Donald
J. Schepker (University of South Carolina), Anthony J. Nyberg (University
of South Carolina), Michael D. Ulrich
(Utah State University), and Patrick M.
Wright (University of South Carolina)
have conducted an important study
highlighting how directors, top managers and HR executives can help boards
overcome the limitations inherent
in CEO succession planning. Their
research article is entitled, "Planning
for future leadership: Procedural

rationality, formalized succession
processes, and CEO influence in chief
executive officer succession planning."
The research findings are published in
the Academy of Management Journal (in
press).
This study of top-level succession
planning was based upon in-depth
qualitative interviews, surveys, and
archival data collected over three years
from over 200 large organizations. It
included discussions with board members, CEOs, "and 40 Chief Human
Resource Officers (CHROs) to understand the critical succession planning
challenges firms face (Schepker et
al.)." The researchers note that, "The
need to understand succession planning is underscored by our interview
of a former CEO of two large, publicly
traded companies who also served on
seven different corporate boards when
he said, 'Succession planning is really



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1

From The Executive Editor
From The Guest Editors
Perspectives
So You Want to Be a High-Potential?
How to Identify and Grow High Potentials: A CEO’s Perspective with Proven Results
Getting the Right People in the Hi-Po Pool
Wherefore Art Thou All Our Women High-Potentials?
Are Your HiPos Overrated?
Executive Roundtable
In First Person
Linking Theory + Practice
Insight into Action
Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Cover1
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Cover2
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 1
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 2
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 3
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - From The Executive Editor
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - From The Guest Editors
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 6
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 7
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Perspectives
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 9
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 10
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 11
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 12
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 13
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 14
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 15
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 16
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - So You Want to Be a High-Potential?
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 18
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 19
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 20
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 21
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - How to Identify and Grow High Potentials: A CEO’s Perspective with Proven Results
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 23
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 24
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 25
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 26
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 27
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Getting the Right People in the Hi-Po Pool
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 29
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 30
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 31
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Wherefore Art Thou All Our Women High-Potentials?
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 33
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 34
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 35
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 36
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 37
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Are Your HiPos Overrated?
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 39
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 40
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 41
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Executive Roundtable
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 43
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 44
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 45
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 46
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 47
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - In First Person
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 49
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Linking Theory + Practice
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 51
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 52
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 53
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Insight into Action
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 55
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 57
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 58
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Cover3
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_41_3_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_41_2_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_41_1_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_40_4_2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_40_3_2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_40_2_2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_40_1_2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_39_4_2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_39_3_2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_39_2_2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_39_1_2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_38_4_2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/d52272_hrps_summer2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/d49675_hrps_spring2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/d47867_hrps_winter2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_fall2014_teaser
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com