CEO Succession

The Highest Risk Decision You’ll Make for Your Company's Future

CEO succession is one of the most critical decisions the board, CHRO, and (often) the current CEO will ever make.  

The challenge is that every CEO brings a unique set of strengths to your particular business context. And it’s difficult to predict when rapid changes will hit your organization.

At DDI, our approach to CEO succession goes beyond helping you find the leader who has the right achievements. We help you choose the CEO who can adapt and grow with the business and cultural context.

DDI will be by your side every step of the way, not only through the selection and transition of a new CEO, but to ensure it’s a long-term success for your organization.


CEO Succession Must Be a Constant Priority

As CEO tenures get shorter and exits skyrocket, it’s more important than ever that CHROs and their boards prioritize CEO succession planning, even when there are no imminent plans to change CEOs.


increase in CEO exits

2023 was the highest year on record for CEO turnover, up 55% from the previous year.

Challenger, Grey, and Christmas


have no internal CEO successor

36% of public companies and 55% of private companies don’t have an internal successor prepared to step into the top job.

Challenger, Grey, and Christmas


years of CEO tenure

The median CEO tenure is only 4.8 years, down from 6 years a decade ago.


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Focus on the CEO Who Will Grow for the Future

It’s common to think of CEO as the pinnacle role in a leader’s career, marking the moment when they reach the top. With that mindset, companies often choose a CEO who has a long list of accomplishments.

But even a CEO must grow and adjust as your organization faces new challenges.

While it’s important for CEOs to have the right experience, we help you see beyond what the candidate has done in the past and understand how they’re going to approach the future. We help you gain deep insights about the capabilities of multiple CEO candidates, develop them for rapid growth, and monitor their progress. When it’s time to make a final decision, you’ll be able to use these development insights to choose the CEO candidate who is the right leader for the future.

Having an outside resource like DDI was valuable at each step of the process. Their consultation and guidance helped keep objectivity and our business needs in the forefront of the discussions.

Mary Ellen McCartney Chief Learning Officer Gundersen Health System

Related Client Story

Seeing the Next CEO at Gundersen Health System

6 min


The Data You Need for CEO Succession

When choosing a new CEO, one of the most difficult challenges is imagining someone in the role who’s never done it. While your team may think they know a candidate well, it’s hard to predict how candidates will operate under the pressures of the CEO role.

That’s why it’s important to gather objective data in your CEO succession process. Performance history isn’t enough. Your team needs information evaluating the candidate’s personal leadership qualities, their skill across CEO functions, and most of all, their fitness for the business context.

DDI’s CEO assessment process is designed to help your succession team have a well-rounded, objective view of candidates. This data-driven approach creates confidence in your succession planning and decision making.

Explore CEO assessment

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Avoid Surprises in CEO Succession

CEO candidates are outstanding leaders and top performers throughout their careers. But even the most high-flying successors stumble on their way to the top job. And when they do, it can take the board and succession team by surprise. In this webinar, learn how to predict some of the most common ways that successors struggle, and get executives back on track.

Watch on demand

Executive Coaching for Your New CEO

Every CEO faces personal challenges in their role, but must take care in how, when, and with whom they share those challenges. That’s why it’s so important that new CEOs have an experienced CEO coach by their side to help them navigate their new role.

DDI C-suite coaches have extensive experience working with CEOs as they make the high-pressure transition into their new role. Our coaches help CEOs leverage their strengths and focus on key areas to improve performance. Most of all, they offer objectivity and clarity with the unbiased feedback and broad perspective new CEOs need.

We are ready to walk by your side, and help you spot the opportunities and pitfalls ahead. So with each step in the journey to becoming CEO, your leader is prepared for success.

Learn more about our executive coaching services 

Learn more about DDI Executive Services.