Let me lay this out clearly:
- CEO gets replaced, often because the board demanded change that the CEO couldn't deliver.
- New CEO comes in the role to replace former CEO with a clear change agenda.
- Former CEO retains role on the board.
- New CEO is scrutinized and judged by the person whom he replaced
You can probably see what's wrong with this picture. Assuming this continues through multiple successions, this can become an even bigger mess, one that Twitter is currently encountering. There, three former CEOs constitute a sizable portion of the board. As the company searches for its next chief, Dick Costolo will slip in along side Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams, all predecessors in the role. In fact, Dorsey is playing an interim role as CEO while the search progresses.
Can this really work? Would you want to take on this role as CEO with your three immediate successors looking over your shoulder and questioning every move?
Spencer Stuart, who owns this headhunter role, has remained mum on the topic. But surely, any self respecting candidate would require a reconstituted board as a precondition to accepting this role. Perhaps, that is what Spencer Stuart is hoping.