CEO Succession Remains Top Board Issue, Says CUNA Survey
MADISON, Wis. -- With credit union boards about ready to do strategic planning for next year, CUNA is providing new guidance to CUs on where to turn and what's needed based on findings of a specialized "board assessment" product that has been on the market for just over a year.
"This is a subscription-based online tool we think can help boards evaluate performance and individual competencies," explained Roger Napiwocki, CUNA vice president-publishing, who is heading up distribution of "boardassessment.com."
Initial results from a survey of 450 users show succession planning for both CEOs and directors heading the list of biggest concerns, said Napiwocki.
Board Assessment, said Napiwocki, is designed to help boards evaluate individual competencies and interaction as the product examines five separate areas: safety and soundness, CEO oversight/performance, strategic planning and board operations.
"Once an evaluation is completed by each board member, the information is compiled into a detailed report assessing the overall performance of the board, broken down by the five areas, including score ranges, highs and lows," said Napiwocki.
In areas where the report finds gaps in competencies, the product, he said, offers solutions and resources for improvement, including classes, books, additional resources and educational opportunities.
Napiwocki said state leagues, with their own director training programs, are planning further linkups with CUNA to use survey results in their own operations and "to tweak their own products," he said. He declined to identify leagues while negotiations are under way.
But on the product itself, Napiwocki said on a five-point scale with five being the top rating, Board Assessment had overall scores for these five areas based on the 450-user survey: safety and soundness, 4.23; Strategic planning and oversight, 4.09; governance, 4.02; CEO oversight, 3.99; and board operations, 3.83.
However, in each of the areas were subsections that highlighted concerns particularly on succession planning for both boards and CEOs, said Napiwocki.
Though "safety and soundness" had the highest ranking of 4.23, a subsection dealing with succession planning had a low score of 3.56 indicating a performance area "that needs the most improvement," said CUNA.
A statement within the Credit Union Safety and Soundness section that reads: "the board regularly reviews and updates a succession plan for the CEO and other senior managers," rated 3.52, also comparatively low.
"So, the trend here," said Napiwocki, "indicates that board members that have taken the survey to date are not absolutely confident that either CEO, senior manager, or director position succession plans are in place and regularly reviewed.
Also scoring low were director recruitment and review, which was a sub-section of "board operations and development." The average in that sub-section was 3.13.
"A full aggregate results report is included with every subscription updated regularly as more individuals take the survey," said Napiwocki. "Another recent product improvement is the ability to benchmark automatically plotting previous scores.
"We've also received interest in creating a league-administered version," he said. That would allow a league facilitator to customize final reports to include solutions that fit the needs of member CUs. Simply put, said Napiwocki, Board Assessment represents "a good way for a boards to take its own temperature and measure its own strengths and weaknesses."