Case study

CEO Succession With A Global Mining Business

  • After a period of consolidation, the Board of this market-leading business was divided around future strategic direction and the balance between operational efficiency versus diversification.
  • The incumbent CEO was successful but the Board anticipated their departure in the next three years. They therefore instigated a long-term succession process.
  • Key stakeholders had preferences for potential contenders early on, making it all the more critical to create an objective, systematic process.

Key objectives were to:

  • Create clarity around CEO requirements
  • Develop potential internal successors while remaining open to an external appointment
  • Ensure a fair process that enabled the right selection decision and a successful transition
  • A roadmap was created which mapped out key milestones, built objectivity into the end-to-end process and created alignment.
  • Throughout the project, advisory support was given to the Chair, Board, CEO and CHRO to optimize the process, and their role in it.
  • Following interviews with all Board members, a profile of success was created which helped to create consensus around future CEO requirements.
  • Developmental assessments of the Exec team were conducted to help them optimize their potential and enhance their future candidature as CEO.
  • Targeted development plans were created to accelerate development. Where coaching was required, either a third party provider was used or a different YSC consultant to ensure impartiality.
  • 18 months later, refresher interviews were conducted with the original YSC assessors. They included a comprehensive 360 feedback process to measure progress against goals and triangulate data.
  • An external search was conducted and the key external candidate was assessed against the agreed criteria.
  • YSC presented candidate comparisons to the Board, including predictive insights and recommendations. We facilitated the discussion, helping the Board to systematically evaluate strengths and risks against the agreed criteria.
  • Advice was given to the Chair to help them run the final decision-making session.
  • YSC advised the Chair as to how best to support the incoming CEO, provided transition coaching, and helped to develop the new ExCo.
  • The impartial, objective approach minimized the risk of bias, and enabled a fair, data-led, decision-making process.
  • YSC critically informed the debate about the merits of an external appointment vs. an internal successor.
  • The appointment is viewed as highly successful. The Chair considers it the right appointment decision which is associated with a significant increase in share price.
  • YSC helped to optimize the CEO’s transition and accelerate Exec team performance.