Stanton Chase
Succession Planning

CEO and C-Suite Succession Planning

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Do you have a plan for finding your next CEO?

CEO succession planning is the board's greatest opportunity to influence the organization's performance and future direction. That is why forward-thinking boards invest intentionally in developing future leaders and stay ahead of key talent decisions.

As CEO tenures shrink and turnover rates increase, boards are devoting more attention to maintaining a robust internal leadership pipeline. Pipelines should be flexible enough to match candidates to the current and future needs of the organization.

Mastering succession planning is essential, but far from simple. It demands effort, dedicated time, and a thoughtful approach.

Do you have a plan in place for identifying and developing your next CEO or C-suite executive? Do you struggle to align succession with the strategic needs of your organization?

We can help you in fulfilling this responsibility effectively.

CEO succession planning
“CEO succession planning is vital for a company's continuity and sustainability.”

How can we help?

Building a talent pipeline takes time and expertise. Our succession planning consultants can help with C-suite succession management whether departure-defined or as part of a strategic leadership development plan. We help you answer the question: "Who has the potential to be the leader we need?"

Our Succession Planning Process

Identifying Critical Roles

This step is designed to help us understand your organizational strategy. We will determine which positions are the most vulnerable and critical and then prioritize your succession planning efforts. Together, we will build an internal communication strategy for this project.

Building Success Profiles

We will work with your organizational leaders to determine what talent is needed in each critical role, both now and in the future. We develop ideal candidate profiles by considering the required skills, personality characteristics, and potential future requirements for the success of the role.

Succession Bench Assessment & Identifying Gaps

Stanton Chase uses the 3As talent potential framework (Ability, Aspiration, Agility) to identify critical talent capabilities and determine the strength of your succession bench. We provide robust and multifaceted insights on talent potential, not only current performance. The reports incorporate:

  • Skills gaps
  • Personality and leadership skills
  • Explored motivation and aspirations
  • Contribution and impact in the organization
  • Culture and role relevant findings
  • Readiness

We review your company’s assessment results, noting strengths and development opportunities. We conduct individual feed-forward sessions with participants in order to create their development plans. We serve as your advisor on how to reinvigorate the professional journey of the successor nominees and help them become more impactful leaders. Our approach will help your leadership pipeline evolve on a personal level and discover exciting new directions.


We conduct a client workshop to report and summarize the outcome of the succession bench’s assessment. We discuss and analyze the leadership pipeline and development plans. We help you plan your next steps.

Why Stanton Chase?

  • We measure talent potential, not only current performance
  • We are a data-driven consultancy. We explore data that is above and beyond your ordinary reach
  • Our clients see an increase in employee engagement and retention after partnering with us
  • Our team has proven organizational behavior expertise
  • We’ve conducted more than 300 CEO search and board assessment assignments in the past year alone.

Our Succession Planning Methodology

We use our unique Fit-for-Purpose assessment framework to identify and evaluate the strongest candidates from within the company and determine their capabilities, readiness, and potential. All candidates, internal and external, are matched against the Success Leader Profile by focusing on these 3 As:

CEO succession planning

Aspiration The extent to which an employee proactively desires and pursues career growth opportunities with increased complexity, responsibilities, and decision-making to support their career ambitions of working at a more senior level.

Ability A combination of knowledge, experience, and learned skills (both technical and functional) combined with cognitive capability and emotional intelligence

Agility The extent to which an employee displays high levels of change resilience and adapts with speed to changing conditions or unexpected challenges amidst increased ambiguity and uncertainty

Frequently Asked Succession Planning Questions

Why Does Succession Planning Matter?

Succession planning is important for all key roles in an organization. The need to identify and develop leadership talent is critical. The risks of not engaging in succession planning are:

  • Loss of mission‑critical knowledge
  • Loss of time spent getting a new successor up to speed
  • Potential disruptions to workplace processes, workflows, and protocols
  • Naming a successor who lacks personal drive, commitment, or the necessary skills needed to perform the job successfully
  • Competitive decline
  • Low morale

In the end, the way companies manage CEO succession is a reflection of the way they manage their enterprise in general.

Large companies that underwent forced succession would have generated $112 billion more in market value had they planned the succession better

Strategy+Business, a PWC publication, 2015

How Do I Establish a Proper CEO Succession Planning Process?

A board without a proper CEO succession plan is failing the company it represents. After all, the board’s primary function is to ensure the company’s prosperity and continuity, defending the interests of both its shareholders and stakeholders. Here is a summary of the key steps in building a successful CEO succession plan.

Build a Sustainable CEO Success Profile
To develop the ideal CEO success profile, the board should revisit the current assessment process and compare it against the company’s vision, mission, values, goals, strategy, governance, and culture. In the same way that any CEO should be equipped with the skills to address the company’s short-term issues, they should also have the skills to support its long-term performance.
Implement a CEO Fit & Proper Assessment Model

Through years of experience, Stanton Chase has developed an Ideal CEO Fit & Proper Assessment Model. It includes some of the following competencies, skills and experience:

  • Leadership and interpersonal skills at C-Level
  • Professional skills and experience in related industries
  • Executive committee and board leadership experience
  • An understanding of the company’s purpose and sustainability practices
  • A stakeholder-engagement mindset
  • Financial and non-financial performance consistency
  • The ability to create a culture that fosters change and engagement strategies
  • Resilient and resilience-orientated when in crisis
  • The ability to build trust

These criteria become part of the assessment process for both external and internal candidates.

Benchmark Top Internal Candidates Against External Candidates
Boards should consider eligible internal candidates first. Talent development and proper succession planning throughout the company will boost employee engagement and retention. Both internal and external candidates should go through an evaluation that contrasts their backgrounds, competencies, and aptitudes with the previously developed leadership profile.
Ensure that Succession Planning is an Ongoing Process
CEOs should maintain a regular dialogue with the board about talent development and their talent pipeline. CEO succession planning must be an evergreen process. When an organization’s board takes succession planning seriously, its executive leadership will feel more confident about its governance. It will also help them feel more secure about their own career development and prospects within the company. The result is better stakeholder engagement.
Set the New CEO Up for Success
Having a successful onboarding process that involves your board, outgoing CEO, and Chief Human Resources Officer makes a world of difference in whether your new CEO succeeds.
Why Do Many Companies Fail at CEO Succession Planning?

Most companies fail at CEO succession planning due to a variety of reasons.

Firstly, they think of succession planning only when a leadership role needs to be filled. A reactive approach to succession can lead to hasty decisions being made and unsuitable appointments.

Additionally, they rely on familiarity and their network. They gravitate or seek out people who are most like them. Very often they have only one successor in mind for each position.

Lastly, a failure to prioritize succession planning as a strategic priority and lack of board engagement and oversight can contribute to the challenges faced in CEO succession.

Our succession planning consultants can step in with an objective perspective and help you draw up an effective and data-driven CEO succession plan.

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