Case study

Executive Succession Planning With Tullow Oil


Tullow Oil is Africa’s leading independent oil company with headquarters in London. This global business originated in 1986 and in recent years has had to adjust to a new market reality of being in a lower oil price environment. YSC Consulting’s role was to support Tullow Oil across levels of the organization: partnering with them in their executive succession planning and strengthening their talent pipeline. This program was aimed at growing talent from within the company and preparing the company for the future.

One objective was the strengthening of Tullow’s talent pipeline. This involved identifying which future leaders to invest in. Tullow wanted to partner with YSC to review and implement a more rigorous process to assess the talent pipeline and invest in future leaders.

A second objective, on an organizational level, was to reassess Tullow’s executive succession planning.

They required a partner to help prepare the organization for the next CEO and exec team appointments. This involved strengthening the bench talent lower down the organization, and deciphering what potential successors to develop for the role.

An overarching requirement of the project was Tullow’s aim to grow a future global team by building a more representative executive team. The challenge was the lack of diversity in the executive team to accurately reflect the business.


YSC took a top down approach and focused first on the executive succession planning by meeting the executive team to gauge the current dynamic of the group on an individual and team level:

  • Individuals took part in individual developmental assessments with a YSC consultant after which a bespoke report was produced including an outline of the individual’s strengths and development areas.
  • On a group level, an aggregate analysis was utilized to identify the broad trends in strengths and developments of potential successors.

YSC next partnered with Tullow to strengthen their talent pipeline by identifying potential using YSC’s JDI Model of Potential. We designed development centers focused on developing Judgment, Drive and Influence in the context of Tullow Oil.

  • A one day pre cursor event occurred prior to the first DC in which senior leaders met high potentials to discuss their career journeys.
  • The development centers were run by both YSC assessors and internal Tullow employees that had been trained by YSC. This gave the centers a rigorous and holistic assessment process, as YSC provided the expertise in the potential model, and Tullow provided insight into the culture and language of the company.
  • The read out of potential enabled high potentials to be streamed in terms of their development; regarding what their potential was in, and what it looked like for the individual in their role.
  • After the DCs, YSC engaged in a four-way conversation between the Line Manager, Human Resources and individual, to create a bespoke individual development plan for the individual to follow in the upcoming year.
  • The JDI development guide facilitated this feedback and conversation around developing potential.
  • YSC’s program touched the whole organization and accelerated the rate of readiness for future roles.
  • By focusing on the talent pipeline, YSC enabled Tullow to retain more organizational knowledge and memory from growing talent within the organization.
  • The program also provided individuals with a powerful developmental experience, and gave them insight into their abilities and how to proactively develop as leaders.
  • On an organizational level, the program helped with future structuring by identifying potential gaps and getting the best out of people.