Succession Planning in the C-Suite Lagging

November 17, 2009 – Fifty-nine percent of executives do not feel their company has a defined succession plan in place, according to the most recent Executive Quiz results released by the Korn/Ferry Institute. The quiz results also suggest that most companies are not adequately prepared should their CEO resign suddenly. When executives were asked if they knew who would assume leadership of their company, just slightly more than half (56 percent) said “yes.” Illustrating the risk of operating without a succession plan, the majority (68 percent) of executives said that the departure of their current CEO/president would be extremely or somewhat damaging to the company. Only 21 percent said it would not be damaging, while 11 percent said it would be beneficial. “C-suite succession planning is one of the most important charters of any organization and its board of directors,” said Joe Griesedieck, vice chairman and managing director of Korn/Ferry's board & CEO services practice. “In the wake of the economic downturn, many companies have been focused on preserving the franchise and have reluctantly put off the critical succession planning process. A clearly defined plan, put in place well ahead of a CEO's departure, not only mitigates risk, but thwarts off counterproductive leadership struggles stemming from lack of clarity.” While many executives feel corporate-wide succession plans are not as defined, they feel more confident that a successor is being groomed to take their own individual post. Fifty-nine percent of executives reported knowing who would assume their role if they left their company today. Respondents from 70 countries, representing a wide spectrum of industries and functional areas, participated in the most recent Executive Quiz. The Korn/Ferry Institute was founded to serve as a global voice on a range of talent management and leadership issues.

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