Among the basic responsibilities of nonprofit boards is the selection of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
The goal of succession plan is to propose guidelines for action that can be immediately implemented when that action is necessary. It’s important to have a plan in place BEFORE the departure of the current CEO.
The steps for hiring a CEO are the same you would include in your succession plan. The board often appoints a search committee, made up of either board members or an outside executive search firm.
Regardless of whether the board is undertaking a national, regional, or local search, and regardless of whether there is a strong internal candidate, the process should always involve these three things:
1) Reviewing the mission statement
2) Clarifying the organization’s strengths and weaknesses
3) Conducting an inventory of the organization’s current and emerging needs
The board needs to come up with clear expectations for that first year of the new CEO’s service, including setting some long-term goals. Part of this consists of identifying the characteristics and attributes of the ideal CEO, and developing an accurate job description.
Once a new CEO is hired, the board should be involved in making sure s/he gets off to a good start and trying to retain the individual by providing consistent support and conducting an annual review.