CEO Succession planning with a leading construction company
Our client is an ASX-listed, multinational construction, development, and investment management company. We were appointed to partner on CEO transition and succession planning, as well as executive development with the global leadership team.
With the CEO transition anticipated to be 18 months away, their specific objectives included:
- Investing in the growth and development of their global leadership team with a global partner (whose geographical footprint matched their own) to provide local, personalized market support
- Appraising prospective CEO succession candidates and ultimately supporting them to choose a successor
Board and Leadership Engagement
- We partnered with the Board to refresh the CEO Profile of Success, articulating the critical capabilities, experiences, mindsets, and behaviours of a future successful CEO and the context in which leadership would be exercised.
- Using our Board Engagement process, Directors were invited to provide stakeholder feedback on the global leadership team, including internal CEO succession candidates, to explore possible biases they may have held about each, and to review the closeness of their relationships and their preparedness to advocate for each leader.
- Playing back aggregate insights regarding Board perceptions of the global leadership team helped us support their ability to make a balanced and objective appraisals of key talent, to identify where further data was needed, and to provide greater rigour, fairness and defensibility in key talent and succession decisions. ’Holding up a mirror’ for the Board to engage with their own perspectives and readiness to make a decision at that point fostered rich and robust dialogue.
Senior Executive Profiling and GLT Development
- Approximately 12 months before the planned CEO transition, we conducted a comprehensive executive profiling and stakeholder feedback process with the global leadership team, including four internal CEO succession candidates. Assessments combined psychological insight, psychometrics, and stakeholder feedback.
- Rigorous and independent benchmarks were presented at individual and collective levels regarding the capability and potential of the GLT. Extending this benchmarking exercise beyond the CEO succession candidates provided rich and nuanced insights into the complementary capabilities, experiences and styles that existed on the top team. In turn, this provided solid foundations for a more comprehensive appraisal of the likely impact and future success of each succession candidate.
- We partnered with each member of the GLT to establish a personalised development plan. Alignment conversations between YSC, leaders and the CEO ensured that plans were pressure tested, insights and development actions were transferred to the ‘real world’, and supporting conditions were identified.
- Executive coaching support was extended to all members of the GLT to provide on-going developmental support and unlock real and sustainable leadership change. High level feedback regarding development goals and progress were shared with the Board at regular intervals through the process.
Our client has made significant strides and progress in our two-year partnership.
- Our client refreshed their CEO Profile of Success, framing it in the current market, cultural, and business context. The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2021 presented an unfortunate but valuable opportunity to understand how leaders responded to and navigated a crisis, and we adapted our approach to incorporate insights into this experience within our view of their leadership.
- YSC’s independent benchmarking of CEO succession candidates yielded a different ‘rank ordering’ of candidates relative to the Board’s initial view. This fostered robust dialogue and supported comprehensive appraisal of candidates by the Board.
- Once a succession event was declared by the Chairman, we conducted a final appraisal of candidates, supported the Board in planning and implementing their internal process, and delivered our recommendations regarding CEO succession, including final analytics and a review of each candidate’s growth and evolution throughout the process.
- Our client appointed an internal candidate, appraised by YSC to be the strongest candidate, as the new CEO. Whilst they conducted a review of external candidates in the market, the Board believed that they had sufficient confidence in the bench strength of internal talent that they did not engage anyone from the market in the process.
- The new CEO is thriving, and despite the pandemic, the company has maintained a steady share price.