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Successful CEO Transitions: Ensuring a Smooth Transfer of Leadership

By: Deborah P. Rubin and Paul C. Winum

CEO changes are often associated with the exit of other senior-level executives due to disapproval of the incoming chief executive, loyalty to the old CEO, or changes to the brain trust the new CEO enacts upon succession. The increased ambiguity experienced during these times often leads to decreased leader and employee engagement and commitment to the organization. Failed CEO transitions are costly. Share prices can decline sharply in response to unplanned CEO turnover, let alone the considerable replacement costs. A well-planned transition program is critical to a smooth transfer of leadership, maintaining business momentum, and meeting stakeholder expectations. 

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