The Best Length of Tenure for a CEO
Andrew Blaine, Business Consultant, South Africa
In my opinion, the optimal length of tenure for a CEO can only be determined based on the following four questions:
1. What is the current state of the business? Often highly positive results follow the change in CEO. What is little appreciated is that, in many instances, this success is from the realisation of the plans put in place by the outgoing CEO and has little to do with the new arrival. The new CEO needs to "feel the waters" and, generally, let's the business run as before during this phase;
2. What do I want to achieve as CEO? During the initial phase the new CEO is both assessing the current situation and planning the way forward towards their identified end position.
3. How long do I estimate it will take? (Or how long have I got to fix it?) In this phase the CEO turns ambition into action and the new phase starts; and, finally
4. And then what? The danger here is the CEO starts to relax and stops/reduces planning - hence the downturn and it's time for a new CEO.