Summary of CEO Succession

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  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Authors Dennis C. Carey and Dayton Ogden present a thorough, insightful guide to choosing a new Chief Executive Officer in this nicely written, concise book. Offering plenty of inside information and real-life corporate examples, the authors explore their ideas without resorting to fluff or to the dry, dull prose that often fills such books. Given their experience helping corporations choose CEOs and other executives, the authors know what they’re talking about and understand the tricky issues involved in putting any advice into practice. Their book delivers what it promises, and given that it can be repetitive, it delivers on some of those promises two or three times (but we’re quibbling, some of those lessons do bear repeating). GetAbstract recommends this book to anyone involved in executive succession and recruitment, especially board members (read it now, before you ditch your CEO, not after).

About the Authors

Dennis C. Carey specializes in the recruitment of CEOs and corporate directors for major U.S. corporations. He is Vice Chairman of Spencer Stuart, a global executive search firm. He is a co-founder of the Director’s Institute at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Dayton Ogden is co-chairman of Spencer Stuart and has previously served as the firm’s CEO and Chairman of the Strategy Committee.



Planning for CEO Succession

CEO succession is both an art and a science. CEOs move on for many reasons, including sudden illness or death, performance problems, a move to another business or retirement. No matter what the reason, your company’s executives and board members must provide a seamless transition of leadership, which means:

  • Establishing and sustaining a reliable succession agenda and timetable.
  • Implementing a self-renewing succession culture that develops leaders at all levels of management.
  • Creating a healthy relationship between the board and CEO that keeps the CEO on track.
  • Benchmarking internal candidates for CEO and other top posts with comparable outside leaders.

Worst-Case Scenario

In March 1996, Richard Swift, the CEO of Foster Wheeler Corp., a $4.5 billion New Jersey-based engineering and construction giant, was invited by then U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown to accompany him on a trade mission to Bosnia. Unable to make the trip because of prior commitments, Swift asked Robert A. Whitaker, vice president of Foster Wheeler’s Energy Equipment Group and president of Foster Wheeler Energy International...

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