Apropos the lucid article “Passing the baton… smoothly” by S Suramanian and Nupur Pawan Bang (November 7) about the challenges faced by CEOs and chairmen who succeed legendary business leaders. May I add a few points?
When the retiring long-serving top boss is succeeded by someone from within the organisation, the latter generally follows his/her strategy and the organisation may fail to explore new opportunities. If his colleagues do not see him as the right choice, he may have to face more difficulties.
If the person tries to make strategic change, the resistance from his top team may dissuade him and he may have to follow the beaten track because every successor cannot be like Ratan Tata or Anu Aga (mentioned in the article) who overcame resistance and took their companies to greater heights.
Even if he succeeds in the new role, the aura of the parted leader (like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates) keeps haunting the workforce, comparisons become more subjective and the successor may feel under-recognised even if well paid.
Finally, it would be indicative of lack of succession planning if the reins are given to an outsider when the organisation is doing well. It may be a risky choice unless the chosen person has an equally high reputation in the industry, quickly understands the organisational culture, gains the trust of the team and delivers results in a short time.
Y G Chouksey Pune
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