There is more to say that just creating criteria a for the CEO successor. It is not just about tabbing an heir apparent that has similar skills set, knowledge base, and leadership style as the predecessor.
A few thoughts on this matter.
Don't get a carbon copy. Carbon copies are weak and it rarely works according to Peter Drucker. I would say that carbon copies are bad copies. They seldom really capture the essence of the original.
For the Selection Committee, it is important to keep mind that same profiles could be counterproductive given that the business environment is constantly changing. What works before with that CEO may not work for the new CEO with the same survival skills and traits.
Where is the company going in the next 10 years, what skills set, knowledge base and leadership style would work? One that can leverage past achievements and successes to work for the next growth level of the company is crucial.
That person should have a clear and demonstrated track record of innovation-orientation. Amidst the overrated appeal of disruption innovation, an innovation-orientation is much needed, in all types of industries, sectors, and markets.
The global marketplace is evolving at such a rapid pace, leaving losers on the trail. That person should have an advanced knowledge of global trends and movements in the marketplace-refined understanding of key moves in the industry /sector where they belong.
A person that can command the right resources for the organization and attracts the required social capital at various levels of the organization. Charisma and people skills are important. But the CEO is not there to please people. He/She is there to advance the interests of the company.
When a disaster or crisis strikes, an able CEO knows how to drive the situation from impending annihilation to securing confidence in the eyes of stockholders, consumers, and the public.
The CEO position is very important and complex. But it is more important to expand the role of the CEO for the right person rather than to “box” the person into the limits of the role.
A few years ago, when I assumed a role in a municipal government, it was a new role. I was able to carve my own way into the position, expanded it based on my range of skills and interests, and win it.
When the CEO position has been entrenched, there is a perception that the CEO has to be this and that. Well, at the end of the day, the person should rise above the limits imposed by the position, whether real or imagined, to become successful.
The term of office is very short if you have a very able leader and it is too long for a lousy one.
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