CEO succession planning: An inside look at the CHRO’s pivotal role

Viewed in Spencer Stuart

The article from Spencer Stuart explores the critical role that Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) play in CEO succession planning and its overall impact on organizational success.

The article emphasizes that CEO succession planning is a complex process that requires strategic alignment between the board of directors, the current CEO, and the CHRO.

CHROs bring unique insights into the organization’s talent pool, leadership capabilities, and future leadership needs. This places them in a crucial position to contribute to a seamless and successful CEO transition.

The authors highlight several key points:

1. Partnership in Succession Planning

Effective succession planning involves the collaboration of the board, the current CEO, and the CHRO. CHROs possess a deep understanding of the leadership team’s strengths, potential, and development needs, which can inform succession decisions.

2. Identifying and Developing Successors

CHROs can identify internal candidates for CEO succession by assessing their competencies, track records, and potential. Moreover, they can create tailored development plans to groom these candidates for the CEO role.

3. Diversity and Inclusion

CHROs can play a pivotal role in advocating for diverse leadership candidates and ensuring that succession planning reflects the organization’s commitment to these principles.

Talent Development: CHROs can drive a culture of continuous learning and leadership development. This not only supports CEO succession but also enhances the overall leadership pipeline and the organization’s resilience.

4. Mitigating Risks

CHROs contribute to succession planning by identifying and addressing leadership gaps, thus minimizing disruptions during transitions, and ensuring business continuity.

5. External Benchmarks

While internal candidates are a focus, CHROs also consider external candidates. They contribute by benchmarking internal talent against external options to make informed succession decisions.

6. Communication and Transparency

CHROs facilitate open communication about succession planning throughout the organization. This transparency can boost employee engagement, foster a sense of stability, and promote a positive organizational culture.


In conclusion, this article underscores the integral role of CHROs in CEO succession planning.

Their insights into talent, development, diversity, and organizational culture make them pivotal in ensuring a smooth transition of leadership.

Effective CEO succession planning, with CHRO involvement, not only secures a strong future leadership but also reinforces the organization’s overall health and adaptability in an ever-changing business landscape.

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