As a CEO, have you given enough thought to your succession plan?

As a CEO, have you given enough thought to your succession plan?


No matter how old you are or how far off your retirement is, now is the time to plan for your succession.

A 2019 article in the newspaper Les Affaires points out that while half of business owners or CEOs in Canada intend to leave their position within the next ten years, only 9% of owners have a succession plan.

As you focus on growing your business, why not also invest time in planning your succession and ensuring your company’s longevity? Here are some tips for effectively planning your succession and passing on the torch to a worthy candidate.


Time is ticking


Even if your retirement is still two or three years off, time is a big factor. Ideally, your succession planning should be ongoing and integrated with your contingency and business continuity plan.

An effective succession plan often involves a domino effect, with the executive vice president replacing you as CEO, the vice president of operations taking over as executive vice president, and so forth.

Think beyond your own position. What roles will your current leaders take on when you retire?


Create a true talent pool of future leaders in your company


If you are preparing for an internal succession, you need to invest in developing the management skills of your top talent.


After identifying the managers and employees with the greatest potential, you can develop their leadership in the following ways:

  • Implement a specific training plan for the next generation of leaders
  • Establish a mentoring program that partners future leaders with senior management
  • Pay for employees’ higher education in management or allow them free time to pursue their studies
  • Involve your top talent in strategic projections
  • Expand employees’ responsibilities as they develop new skills


Whatever approach you take, it is important to see this as a long-term investment. By providing your highest potential employees with career development opportunities, you will encourage them to keep progressing. By taking them out of their comfort zone, you allow them to grow faster and, in turn, contribute to the growth of the company. Remember that in a context of talent scarcity, you want to be extra sure that the opportunities are coming from you and not your competitors. 


Investing in employee development does more than ensure the sustainability of your business—it also drives performance. High-achieving employees will be even more motivated at work if they know that they may lead the company one day.


A leader for the challenges of tomorrow, not today


Whether you have a suitable internal candidate or are using a headhunter to find the perfect fit, be sure to consider this key question: What skills does the candidate need to have to carry out your strategic plan over the next five years? And beyond that: What industry trends are on the horizon? What kind of leader will the company need to dominate the market?

Candidates’ skills must be aligned with your strategies. Focus on the challenges of tomorrow, not today. What type of manager will be best equipped to address these challenges and lead your company in the right direction? Don’t look for your double; train or recruit a candidate with a vision for the future.


Work with executive search experts


Surround yourself with specialists who can help you make a wise choice, even if you are only considering internal candidates.

As an executive search firm, PIXCELL employs a rigorous, proven methodology to guide you through the selection process. Using our four-step candidate assessment process, and with our impartiality, we help ensure that you make the right choice and that your hire stays on for years to come.

Throughout the executive search process, we make a point of always providing feedback. Candidates who are not selected, whether they are internal or external to the company, will receive constructive feedback that will help them to make the needed adjustments for a future round of hiring. 


As an executive search firm, we love CEO recruitment contracts. That said, companies with an effective succession plan in place rarely recruit a CEO from outside their ranks.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                – François Piché-Roy, President and Senior Consultant, PIXCELL

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