In Mike Welch’s Sept. 24th Publisher’s Column, “CEO Retirements Not Necessarily A Scary Thing,” he did an excellent job of cautioning credit union boards to be certain they realize the importance of their CEO replacement actions. He stopped short of recommending that they seek professional assistance, so I’ll say it. Hiring a CEO, capable of leading a CU’s future success, should not be a seat-of-the-pants process. Limited supply and high demand for the best talent is a situation that begs for taking a professional approach to win the market competition. In addition, boards should be aware that hiring right is only half the battle. Research shows that across the business sector, 40-60% of newly placed executives fail within 18 months on the job. Leadership transitions are stressful times and are full of obstacles and traps that can lead to failure. The statistics also show that it is the self-confident, previously successful executive who is most at risk. Their attitude of “I haven’t failed before, so why worry now?” is exactly what causes them to be blindsided in a new transition. The good news is that there is also professional support available to help ensure the new CEO’s success. There is a comprehensive process called “onboarding” that provides support for newly placed executives. Basically, these two professional processes (ie., Search and Onboarding) reduce the risks involved in replacing a retiring CEO. Aren’t credit unions in the risk management business? Boards just need to know what they don’t know. Then, hopefully they will take the appropriate actions to make their credit union a winner in the “war for talent”. Mark Elliott Partner Member Value Network-Leadership Services. Kentwood, Mich. Editor’s Note: Mark Elliott is a nationally known executive recruiter who works with credit unions and other organizations.

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