Boards are our business
CEO Succession

Who will support your board through this highly sensitive and confidential process?

Over half of directors say they are ineffective at executing their CEO succession responsibilities. Too often they delegate this responsibility to the CEO or avoid raising this awkward topic. Not under WATSON’s watchful eye. We are the authority on CEO succession.

WATSON guides the board and the CEO though a series of healthy discussions and tangible steps. We help you get traction on the right activities, depending where you are in the life cycle of the CEO. Together, we get you past the feeling of walking on eggshells and on the path to a stronger succession plan.

Great boards work on CEO succession planning every year. The best boards start as soon as the new CEO is hired.

WATSON Guidance

WATSON guides its clients through the multi-year succession journey, making sure you are well equipped to:

  • Stay on top of the timeline and decide what activities to do in the next 12-18 months
  • Clarify the role of the board and the role of the CEO as well as the decision rights of the Committee versus the full board
  • Define the skills and attributes needed in your next CEO
  • Identify viable internal candidates and develop them to be as CEO-ready as possible
  • Figure out the best ways to assess the candidates over time
  • Decide if, when and how to do an external search and engage a search firm
  • Make the final selection decision
  • Support the transition of the incumbent CEO and the new CEO
WATSON can support in many ways

We educate your board on best practices in CEO succession planning.


We host an initial workshop to help you discuss your current situation and come to agreement on the early steps of succession planning. At the end of the day, you have a clear and actionable roadmap.

Decision support

We can facilitate a decision process if your board is divided – whether you are grappling with decisions to end the CEO tenure earlier than expected or to choose your next leader.

Consulting support

We can guide and support the Succession Committee all the way through the succession planning journey. We offer a range of services from multi-year support to occasional work on key elements such as defining skills needed in the next CEO. And once your new CEO is in place, we can help accelerate performance.

Succession planning should be more than waiting for your CEO to inform the board of their retirement date.  Good boards are responsible for ensuring that their organizations have the best leadership today, and tomorrow.  In the end, you want the succession process to be rigorous, transparent, and fair. The hardest part is getting started.

Bottom line: You’ll have better leadership today and tomorrow.