CEO Succession Associate, Leadership Advisory Services
Spencer Stuart's CEO Practice provides counsel and coaching to support clients' CEO search and succession planning needs. Since 2009, we have conducted nearly 1,500 CEO search and succession assignments globally. Increasingly, we are getting involved with clients long before there is an imminent need for a transition at the CEO level with our succession planning support. Spencer Stuart has handled 20% of the CEO transitions across the top 300 companies in Europe, and led more than one-third of CEO engagements within the S&P 500 that went to external search - the highest share of any firm. Drawing on groundbreaking research on the performance of internal and external CEO candidates, our consultants help boards navigate important issues surrounding CEO selection.
Leadership Advisory Services Practice
The Leadership Advisory Services (LAS) Practice is an exciting, vibrant, and dynamic practice within Spencer Stuart. Operating synergistically alongside the Firm's market-leading Executive Search business, LAS professionals provide advice and partnership to clients navigating a range of key leadership and talent issues including: aligning culture and talent strategy with business strategy; maximizing team effectiveness; merger integration support; executive assessment; and talent development and transition support. LAS provides expertise in leadership assessment and development, which is a critical component to CEO succession. Furthermore, LAS is the engine that drives our capabilities and culture models, which are employed during CEO Succession engagements to ensure clients take a multi-faceted approach towards their leadership decisions.
CEO Succession Planning
CEO succession planning is a highly-specialized area within Spencer Stuart that falls at the intersection of our CEO practice and Leadership Advisory Services practice. CEO succession planning can be fraught with hidden risks and challenging dynamics that, if not recognized and managed, can derail the process and destroy value. Over the past decade, internally promoted CEOs have increased from 59% to 88% in S&P 500 companies. As the trend towards more internal candidates continues, we have rapidly expanded the number of clients we advise as they seek to execute best in class CEO succession planning. Recognizing this trend towards internal CEO promotions, Spencer Stuart acquired Executive Intelligence Group in 2007, co-founded by Bob Stark. Our proprietary Executive Intelligence (ExI) evaluation provides unique insights on CEO potential and positively predicts business performance. ExI is combined with our decades of experience advising boards on CEO selection to form our succession planning offering. Additionally, all CEO Succession engagements leverage the LAS practice, which is critical in providing expertise in leadership assessment, personal and organizational culture diagnostics, and executive development - all important factors in the process.
We counsel boards on their CEO succession planning needs, helping them define, plan, and implement an effective and credible succession process. This approach includes supporting boards in building alignment around their future needs, rigorously assessing and developing internal talent, benchmarking external best-in-class talent, and providing advice and counsel throughout the succession planning horizon. We also help companies address unplanned leadership needs during times of crisis, including an unexpected retirement, untimely departure or a turnaround situation requiring a change in leadership, as well as long-term succession planning for other critical senior leadership roles. Our CEO Succession practice continues to grow and lead in this rapidly expanding market.
The CEO Succession Associate is a critical member of the engagement team involved in the end-to-end succession process. S/he will be instrumental in driving client value across a range of activities that maximize future readiness of possible CEO successors, from gaining alignment among directors and leadership to ensuring a great decision and client outcome. The CEO Succession Associate supports Consultants in the full execution of client engagements which includes a six step process:
- Supporting a rigorous and confidential process that incorporates the right stakeholders and enables the best decisions and a positive experience for all involved
- Defining requirements for the future leader through a precise understanding of the critical leadership characteristics and cultural fit essential to the future success of the organization and its strategies
- Conducting deep-dive, multi-method assessments and accelerated development of internal and external candidates to accurately assess their strengths and development needs
- When appropriate, partnering with colleagues from the search side of our business to access the most accomplished and relevant external candidates and exhibit a best-in-class talent pool to the client
- Providing powerful vetting and decision support to the client with assessment data around cultural fit, match of skills, and experience with the future leadership requirements in mind
- Providing transition planning and support by establishing effective on-boarding and coaching for the new CEO to ensure success based on "First 100 Day" planning expertise
The CEO Succession Associate serves clients across a diverse range of industry sectors, including but not limited to consumer goods, industrial, financial services, energy, and professional services. The LAS Associate role requires approximately 30% travel, primarily within the US. Occasional global travel may be required.
- This position reports to the LAS Associate Practice Leader (solid line), Consultants (on a per-engagement basis).
- The successful candidate will engage regularly with members of the LAS and CEO practices.
- This position will be preferably based in our San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, or Stamford offices.
- Assist in the development of client communications and the engagement plan
- Work with Consultants to conduct board of director and C-level interviews at the onset of an engagement
- Work with Consultants to administer proprietary leadership advisory tools and assessment methodologies
- Conduct 360 interviews
- Work with the Consultants to synthesize data from the assessments and prepare client reports/deliverables, capturing an integrated point of view
- Join the client team in delivering key findings and advice to the client (usually CEO and/or Board)
- Help build an actionable development plan and provide feedback to senior executives
- Contribute to ongoing coaching and support to ensure progress against development plans
- Contribute to summary client presentations and other documents identifying key organizational, cultural, or strategic findings across the engagement
- Manage a large volume of information with rigorous attention to detail; develop personal systems and tactics for maximizing personal organization and productivity
- Successfully support a number of projects with simultaneous deadlines and multiple internal/external clients
- Support the continuous improvement of product and processes
- Participate in the development of intellectual capital and participate in thought leadership programs
The ideal CEO Succession Associate is an individual who has experience in business, strategy, or human capital consulting and/or organizational development expertise at the senior (i.e. C-Suite and board) level. S/he must possess a strong business acumen and ability to position and integrate succession strategies within the context of driving shareholder value and market success. With their strong subject matter expertise, keen insight in CEO succession best practices and trends, and strong "board room presence", the CEO succession associate will be sought out by both external clients and internal consultants to help support key decisions during CEO succession client engagements. Balancing confidence with humility and a desire to learn, they will foster the trust and relationships so colleagues reach to this individual with comfort and confidence, knowing they can entrust him/her with their clients' most sensitive and critical talent issues.
- A minimum of three years of experience at a top-tier strategy consulting firm, post-completion of an MBA or graduate degree
- The ideal candidate will possess an MBA or other relevant advanced degree; individuals who have been promoted directly to the post-MBA level in consulting without completing a graduate degree will be considered on a case-by-case basis
- Experience working on or a keen interest in human capital projects (e.g., organizational or team effectiveness, talent development, etc.)
- Superior business writing skills as evidenced through project work or writing samples (to be provided upon request)
- Experience managing high workloads amidst competing priorities and demanding stakeholders
- General business acumen as defined by having operated in a range of business situations/contexts
- Direct interaction/experience with executive-level clients, ideally at the C-level and with boards
- Excellent command of written and spoken English is required
- Advanced skills in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
- Confident with the executive presence needed to interface with C-level executives and boards
- A consultative mindset; the ability to act as a true partner to consultants when interacting with boards, CEOs, C-level clients, and colleagues
- A strong sense of urgency and professionalism in navigating client situations
- High energy and action orientation, with strong organization skills and discipline
- Quick study who can rapidly get up to speed on an industry or company
- Tolerance for ambiguity and evolving processes (start-up mentality)
- Excellent workload management
- Self-assured, with the ability to push back when necessary
- Comfortable accepting feedback and a willingness to continually improve
- A high level of focus for lengthy assessments and report formulation
- A passion for writing and pulling together many inputs into a cohesive output
- Willingness to travel with short notice
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