Few boardroom activities are more consequential than CEO succession planning, and many directors would argue that it is the single most important thing they do. Determining who leads the company impacts everything from strategy and operations to culture, talent, and the company’s role in society. Boards are spending more and more time on succession-related activities, reflecting not only their concerns about executive leadership, but an awareness that a successful succession event takes years to pull off.
Russell Reynolds Associates recently launched an in-depth study of nominations and governance committee (NomCo) chairs, including surveying 147 chairs from leading companies across industries and around the world (see methodology note for demographic details). NomCo chairs hold a unique leadership role on the board, influencing everything from who becomes CEO to who joins the board and which directors are asked to take leadership positions. CEO succession was one of many subjects these board leaders talked to us about. Here are three big takeaways from what they told us: