Seven Myths of CEO Succession

Seven Myths of CEO Succession

David F. Larcker
Stanford University – Graduate School of Business
Stephen A. Miles
The Miles Group (TMG)
Brian Tayan
Stanford University – Graduate School of Business
March 19, 2014
Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University Closer Look Series: Topics, Issues and Controversies in Corporate Governance and Leadership No. CGRP-39
Many believe that the selection of the CEO is the single most important decision that a board of directors can make. In recent years, several high profile transitions at major corporations have cast a spotlight on succession and called into question the reliability of the process that companies use to identify and develop future leaders.
In this Closer Look, we examine seven common myths relating to CEO succession. These myths include the beliefs that:
1. Companies Know Who the Next CEO Will Be
2. There is One Best Model for Succession
3. The CEO Should Pick a Successor
4. Succession is Primarily a “Risk Management” Exercise
5. Boards Know How to Evaluate CEO Talent
6. Boards Prefer Internal Candidates
7. Boards Want a Female or Minority CEOWe examine each of these myths and explain why they do not always hold true. We ask:
• Why aren’t more companies prepared for a change at the top?
• Would directors make better hiring decisions if they had better knowledge of the senior management team?
• Would they be more likely to hire a CEO from within?
• Would they be more likely to hire a female or minority candidate?
• How many succession should a director participate in before he or she is considered “qualified” to lead one?
Topics, Issues and Controversies in Corporate Governance. The Closer Look series is a collection of short case studies through which we explore topics, issues, and controversies in corporate governance. In each study, we take a targeted look at a specific issue that is relevant to the current debate on governance and explain why it is so important. Larcker and Tayan are co-authors of the books Corporate Governance Matters and A Real Look at Real World Corporate Governance.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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