How many succession plans do you need to succeed?

Opinion

How many succession plans do you need to succeed?

stevejobs.jpgApple shareholders have been getting very exercised about what will happen when CEO Steve Jobs leaves the company. They want a succession plan. There are suggestions Apple already has one in place anyway, but personally I'm bemused by their concerns.

Fate can be fickle and unpredictable events do occur, which means many companies are faced with the risk, however remote, of losing their head honcho. Problem is that you might have a plan in place centred around a certain individual stepping up to the plate only to have them leave or be wiped out in a freak paintball accident. What do you do then, have a succession plan for the successor? And his or her successor and so on and so on?

How far down the line do you need to go before your shareholders can sleep easy at night? And will you have spent so much management time on your succession plan(s) that the company's performance would have suffered in the meantime, annoying your shareholders.

This was first published in February 2011

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