The Board’s Role in Succession Planning

by Jeffrey Stein, for The Harvard Law School Forum at Harvard Law School, January 20, 2010.

One of the most challenging aspects of the recent financial crisis has been the significant increase in the number of CEOs who have left their companies unexpectedly or on short notice. Despite this trend and the widespread view that succession planning is a critical board function, directors of many public companies are not fully satisfied with the effectiveness of their succession planning.

Against this background, the Lead Director Network, a group of lead directors, presiding directors and non-executive chairmen from many of America’s leading companies, met recently to discuss the board’s role in succession planning. Following this meeting, King & Spalding and Tapestry Networks have published the View Points report here to present highlights of the discussion that occurred at the meeting and to stimulate further consideration of this subject.

The following provides highlights from the meeting, as described in the View Points report:

  • Emergency CEO Succession Plan: Members of the Lead Director Network believe it is critical to draft an emergency CEO succession plan and to review that plan annually. The members point out, however, that the specificity of these plans varies. Some companies have a very detailed step-by-step plan, while other companies have a less formal plan…(continue reading)
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