1st Edition

The Next CEO Board and CEO Perspectives for Successful CEO Succession

By Thomas Keil, Marianna Zangrillo Copyright 2021
    226 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    226 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Shortlisted for the Business Book of the Year (International Books category) 2022

    Every year, companies spend billions of dollars in board time and headhunter fees on CEO searches. In fact, the selection of the next CEO is the single most important task of the board of directors. Yet, despite the huge amount of time, money, and attention given to the task, many CEO changes fail, with disastrous consequences for all concerned.

    With so much at stake, it is natural to ask what companies and their boards can do to increase the odds of success. Illustrated with an abundance of real-life examples from interviews with CEOs, C-suite members, members of the boards, and headhunters supporting CEO searches, The Next CEO explains how boards can improve the odds of success with CEO succession by identifying clear CEO mandates and associated CEO profiles and by selecting CEOs that are fi t for purpose. It further explains how the CEOs of leading corporations effectively take charge and create results, providing a roadmap for incoming CEOs. These ideas are brought to life with case studies and interviews with well-known corporations such as ABB, Alibaba, Freudenberg, GE, Google, HNA, HP, Microsoft, Nestle, Nike, Nokia, Novartis, Roche, Sony, Tata, and Zurich Insurance.

    The book is invaluable practical reading for board members of medium-to-large-size fi rms involved with CEO succession, and for those preparing for their fi rst CEO position. It is also relevant to headhunters who are involved in the process of CEO succession as a working tool for them and their clients. In addition, the book will be relevant to courses on corporate governance and strategic transformation at the executive and MBA levels.


    PART I: Boards Defining The Mandate And Profile For A New CEO 

    1. Preparing For CEO Selection 

    2. Continuation: More Of The Same 

    3. Evolution: Adaptation Within Boundaries 

    4. Transformation: Bringing The Organization To The Next Level 

    5. Turnaround: Breaking With The Past Under Pressure 

    PART II: The Work Of A New CEO 

    6. Mastering The Strategic Mandate 

    7. Taking Charge 

    8. Building A Personal Platform 

    9. Driving Results 

    PART III: The Next Act  

    10. The Lifecycle Of A CEO 

    11. Sustaining The Succession Pipeline 

    12. The CEO Of 2030


    Thomas Keil is a professor at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, where he teaches strategy and international management.

    Marianna Zangrillo is a corporate leader, business angel, and investor, with experience in companies such as Nokia, Kemira, Swissport, and Infront Sports.

    "The Next CEO is an outstanding book. It provides great insights into the challenges of leading a company and how to select the right leader. The many practical examples from different company situations and the quotes from industry leaders make it a brilliant book which is fun to read."
    Jan Jenisch, CEO, LafargeHolcim

    "Appointing the CEO and thereafter supporting her/him to be successful all the way to the exit are the most critical tasks of the Board. This book is full of good practical experiences and real-life views of relevant colleagues from many companies and situations. Absolutely worth reading for newly appointed CEOs and all board members, and Chairs in particular! I can think of many situations as the Chair of a Board or CEO when the learnings from this book would have made me think twice or act differently."
    Jorma Eloranta, Chair of Board of Directors, Stora Enso

    "A book very much based on real life. It will help each Board answer one of their key challenges: ‘How to get the right CEO’."
    Professor Dr Michael Süss, Chair of the Board of Directors, OC Oerlikon

    "Few decisions are more critical and more challenging than CEO succession. The authors offer rich insights into how the Board and the CEO need to work together to ensure a successful CEO transition."
    Heiner Thorborg, Headhunter

    "The selection of the right CEO is by far the most important task of any corporate board. The insights provided in this excellent book give the reader a good understanding of what "right" means, depending on the board’s vision of upcoming challenges. At the same time, all new CEOs and their organizations will benefit from understanding the mandate given to the new CEO. I would warmly recommend this real-life based playbook for corporate board members and CEOs anywhere."
    Päivi Jokinen, Chairwoman of European Women on Boards

    "In The Next CEO, Keil and Zangrillo provide an insightful perspective how boards and new CEOs can beat the odds of CEO succession and turn what is one of the pivotal moments for all organizations into a success. The book is full of helpful advice for boards, new CEOs, and those supporting them."
    Erwin Mayr, CEO, Wieland Werke AG