For any company the CEO is of paramount importance. So too is the Chair. For a unitary Board the neat distinction – the Chair leads the Board, the CEO leads the company – is often more blurred or even messy in practice.
“A board chair leads the board’s effort to excel at advising on strategy, monitoring performance, overseeing finance and controls, and evaluating management. A CEO establishes within the company a shared set of values, practices, and goals that enables the company to execute its strategic plan and build a meaningful future.”
A key development in recent years has been increased scrutiny and expectations for the Chair. This is particularly true for larger companies in the public eye and regulated companies. A consequence is a shift from patrician Chairs who may also have been remote, to more visible Chairs who are engaging with a number of stakeholders.
While the distinction between the Chair and CEO roles may have been clearly defined internally, to external stakeholder the Chair may at times become the face of the company.
Given the shifting stakeholder demands it’s vital that the Chair and CEO have a good working relationship, a clear understanding of demarcation of duties and the flexibility to adapt to situations that will test the governance framework.
In Fidelio’s Search assignments we find that stakeholder expectations are shaping the both the CEO and Chair roles. This relationship has always been at the heart of a company’s success. It’s changing nature is making heightened demands of both CEO and Chair. It’s a key consideration in any CEO or Chair appointment.
In this Overture, we explore key focal points of the Chair / CEO relationship including:
on Chair appointment;
in relation to an experienced CEO;
and in terms of succession planning.
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