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What do you do as a board when you hear the words from your CEO of some 20-plus years, “I am planning to retire within the next few months?”

At first, the words do not penetrate. After all, your CEO has been in place for a long time, things were running smoothly and although inside you felt your organization may not have been quite leading edge, the comfort zone took over. If this is the case, this is a strong indication that the board has not been strategic in its thinking. A board should invest just as much time to contingency plans as they do to succession plans.

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