Less than half of U.S. companies have in place a CEO succession plan. For a variety of reasons, companies large and small, have failed to take the necessary steps to prepare for the possibility that their CEO could suddenly retire, quit, or die. Many report that if any of these occur, they’ll simply recruit a replacement- – a process that will likely take several months and could leave the organization in chaos as it scrambles to address the crisis. Organizations put themselves at risk when they fail to put in place a plan.

There is another scenario that more and more organizations are beginning to address: emergency CEO succession if the CEO is unexpectedly incapable of doing his or her job. What would you do if your CEO was stricken and unable to work for one month, three months or longer? Who will take over and is she prepared to do so? What kind of interim leader will your organization need to lead you through the crisis?

It is important for executives and boards of directors to discuss not only who will take over in an emergency, but to also examine their criteria for this important choice. It is also much easier if you’ve discussed this issue and developed a plan before a crisis occurs.

I am currently developing such a plan for a large not-for-profit. Call if you have any questions or if you need assistance in developing your plan.

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