New CEO Preparedness

May 25, 2006

New CEO Preparedness

A survey among board members by RHR International and Directorship found that a mere 35 percent believe that a new CEO transition would go smoothly if the prior CEO departed. Considering how critical those first 100 days are in setting the tone, establishing an agenda, aligning the senior team and motivating employees, board members need to be better prepared for the possibility of quickly integrating a new leader. When you think about Radio Shack’s recent quick CEO departure, an integration or transition plan becomes a necessity. Two years ago the McDonald’s board was prepared when it faced two CEO deaths in the span of approximately one year.

Successful CEO transitions require preparation and intensive communications training. Even if the transition appears orderly, there are always missteps.

Former federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s successor Ben Bernanke recently misspoke when making informal remarks to a CNBC anchor during dinner. The remarks created havoc with the stock market. Bernanke later said that it “was a lapse in judgment on my part. In the future, my communications with the public and the markets will be entirely through regular and formal channels.”

The RHR/Directorship research underscores the need for ready-to-go New CEO 100 Day Plans along with the more typical Crisis Preparedness plans that most companies already have on hand.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

  • Fenix
    Posted at 18:00h, 26 June Reply

    I find a great interest in CEO transitions and typical rights and wrongs the CEO can do in the situation. I am having problems finding empirical research material to my hypothesis. I wonder if anybody have recommendations of quantitative and qualitative researchs and tips on where I can find some. Most of the journals and articals I find in Proquest etc. is more of the non empirical kind.

    Plz email:

  • Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross
    Posted at 17:36h, 22 November Reply

    You should look at That is our web site on all sorts of information. Also my book, CEO Capital, which you can find on It is all about the best practices on CEO transitions. There are many more books and articles today on how to transition well. Michael Watkins has done alot and is worth tracking down. Best, lgr

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