A Chairperson is considered the single biggest determinant of a Board’s effectiveness. A Chairperson has the primary role in determining an organisation’s strategic focus as well as setting the tone for communications and leading its composition.
It is a demanding and challenging role that requires a skill set that is different in many respects from those of a successful executive career. Exceptional CEO’s or MD’s don’t necessarily make good Chairpersons. Equally the best Chairpersons may not have been CEO’s themselves.
Whilst sector experience can be valuable, it is ultimately a less important determinant of success in the role than having the right characteristics to be a great Chairperson. Combining outstanding business judgement with a high degree of emotional intelligence, sophisticated team leadership skills, calmness under pressure and the integrity to put ‘company’ before ‘self’.
When working with Boards on Chairperson succession, we place particular emphasis on defining the candidate brief – ensuring alignment around the key business challenges faced, the expectations of the Chairperson in terms of role and time commitment, and the credentials and capabilities that will be required.
We then work on a highly confidential basis to identify and assess potential candidates and help our clients to manage the critical and sensitive process of selecting the right successor – whether from the existing Board or from outside.