New CEO announcements require considered thought. Everything must go right. It is a rite of passage for companies, their legacies and destiny. It is both a science and an art. I am always on the hunt for how they are done well, especially in our new social media environment where news of CEO-elects travel within nanoseconds. Don't kid yourself -- it is a pivotal point in an organization's history. A new CEO affects everyone as a new world order emerges. The organization must help the new CEO establish his or her reputation and legitimacy by starting off on the right foot. Leading up to the first 100 days -- often called the Countdown -- must be well planned (see my book, CEO Capital for more). Companies or organizations want to graciously thank the outgoing CEO or chairman and ring in the new with sincerity and strategic forethought. They will want to explain in a few sentences why the new leader was chosen from the rest, honor any rituals about how the company transitions to the future and set in motion the process for upcoming continuity and change.
Here's a sincere and strategically well-aligned new CEO announcement that fits the organization's mission and narrative. It smartly makes good use of today's technology and is engaging and real. The organization is Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. They announced a new CEO, Robert (Bob) Bonar Jr., who officially begins in two months. In addition to the picture of the new CEO on the home page, you can link to a statement from the board chair who welcomes the new CEO via text and video if you like. The text provides information on Bonar's background as well as well-deserved appreciation for the outgoing 12-year veteran CEO. There is also a bio and press kit.
But what's really worthwhile spending a few minutes of your time on is the hospital's video from kids about CEOs. It is really a delight and a smile-maker. The children appear to be patients at the hospital which draws you in even more and makes you think twice about all the good that hospitals do. The patient kids are asked questions like what C-E-O stands for? (A: Chimp Eating Oranges?), What CEOs do? (A: Direct people, watch TV), What should CEOs wear? (A: Skinny jeans, pajamas and a dude hat) and What would you do if you were CEO? (A: Get to know the kids, sharpen pencils, be respectful, hire magicians for all the kids).
An awesome CEO introduction.
Disclosure: (client of Weber Shandwick)