Recognising top performing CEOs during an executive search and selection can be difficult. Sometimes companies find the talent within their own ranks other times it will come from an external recruitment process. Recognising top performing talent within the internal supply chain is a challenge for most companies but is one that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Reports suggest, time and again that company’s succession planning is one of the major weaknesses in identifying CEO talent. A survey conducted by the National Association of Corporate Directors found that nearly 50% had no succession plan in place and only one-fifth had given their successor a lot of thought.

As a result of an ageing population, over the next decade 50% of baby-boomer managers or senior executives will be retiring. Succession planning has never been more important, particularly when the average age of a retiring CEO is 55. Competition for top talent is stronger, shareholders are looking for better returns and boards are less patient.

Headhunting the next CEO

Due to the level of competition in appointing talent a company must be proactive. A key to succession planning is starting early and working with talented search and selection companies. Chad Harrison International has a network of senior contacts and is able to work confidentially on behalf of both parties to headhunt and attract talented candidates.

At CEO level, good talent is often passive, meaning they are not actively looking for their next role. They will use search and selection firms to market themselves confidentially to prospective clients or will expect head hunters to inform them of new roles. Even so, attracting a CEO from a competitor can take some time and there is no guarantee it will occur.

At a senior level, the market is a lot smaller and the talent is finite. Companies with an internal and external succession plan are working with Chad Harrison International to identify senior level talent that can be promoted and nurtured to develop in to CEOs within the company.

By doing this, clients of Chad Harrison International are able to succession plan using vertical reviews, going deeper within the organisation to prepare more than one candidate for the position of CEO. This is a long term talent management strategy and requires talented staff at varying levels of the business. Companies that use this strategy are in a fortunate position to identify a plethora of CEO candidates at various levels of the business.