Robin Toft, President and CEO of Sanford Rose Associates® – Toft Group, Featured in Advisen Risk Network, No CEO Succession Plan a Risky Way to Run a Business

Dallas, TX 7/8/2014
By Patricia O’Connell

CEO succession planning may be the corporate equivalent of eating healthier: Everybody knows they ought to be doing it and swears they will—but then they don’t. A recent survey by global executive search firm InterSearch Worldwide revealed only 45 percent of executives from 34 countries say their companies have a process for CEO succession planning. Lack of a succession planning process leaves a company vulnerable on numerous fronts when a CEO leaves. Witness the turmoil at American Apparel, now looking to use a “poison pill” to prevent ousted CEO/founder Dov Charney from upping his stake in the company, or the fact that retailer Target has been helmed by an interim CEO since the May departure of former CEO Gregg Steinhafel in the wake of the company’s stunning data breach problem and its failure to ignite in Canada.

A leadership vacuum—or even the possibility of it—makes investors nervous because they recognize it will mean distraction from the company’s strategic focus, and a disjointedness. The pressure is on companies to move quickly because business changes more quickly now than it used to. Companies run the risk of not being able to execute on the strategy because of both the distraction and the possibility of losing other key talent, according to Robin Toft, President and CEO of Sanford Rose Associates – Toft Group, who recruits CEOs and board members.

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