Case study

CEO Succession Planning With A Retail Organization In The UK


A British home furnishings retailer with over 100 stores and an online presence, engaged YSC during a period of change. While successful and fast-growing in nature, it was recognized that a dynamic approach would be needed in this changing consumer market. YSC Consulting was approached based on reputation to support with CEO succession within the organization.

Having experienced an unsuccessful external candidate being previously instated as CEO, there were concerns about how to enhance the brand proposition and cultural DNA with new leadership.

An overarching objective was to outline the requirements of the CEO, with YSC’s experience suggesting a clearly defined and agreed upon profile of success would be useful. This was used to ensure stakeholder views were accounted for, but also to differentiate fairly between potential candidates.


Using YSC’s insight on CEO excellence, a customized guide for success was designed by interviewing key stakeholders, reviewing internal company documentation and business strategy. This was a two-page document which outlined the profile of success and capabilities of a potential candidate, along with the challenges that would be faced in the next 1-5 years.

In individual stakeholder calls, a future-focused lens was used to draw on an extensive database of experience working with CEOs from a range of sectors and business structures. This was done to identify both opportunities and risk factors for potential leadership.

The assessment process of both external and internal candidates, underpinned by YSC’s JDI Model of Potential, was carried out by experienced consultants. Each was asked to speak freely about their experiences, personal qualities and key characteristics that underpin leadership, along with situations which enable successful performance. Following this, an aggregate of the insights was created and individual assessment reports were produced for the CEO and CPO. After a decision was made, constructive feedback and coaching conversations were completed with each participant.


Care was taken to ensure each participant felt listened to and work was done to develop new insights into the challenges in the executive’s development.

Each participant was given a clear and transparent view of their results, a benchmark for their progression and a focus on enhanced individual development. For example, a precise articulation of their strengths and limitations with regards to their current executive roles and potential.

It was this foundation of insight and professional credibility that led to additional partnership with YSC, such as further assessment and development within the organization. This included transition coaching for the new CEO and subsequent team coaching to enhance performance of the executive, as aligned with the strategy and leadership of the new CEO.