As the first generation of middle-market private equity leaders nears retirement, many firms are struggling with how to move forward with succession planning, even when faced with increasing pressure from their limited partners.
Based on a survey of a 140 UK based respondents across Audit Committee Chairs, Board Chairs, CFOs and Audit Partners in the UK. The survey was supplemented with 21 interviews with UK Board Chairs, Audit Committee Chairs, CFOs and Audit Partners aimed at determining what characteristics are needed to lead this key Committee, what the job entails now, and crucially how an Audit Committee Chair can succeed.
According to Vivek Khemka, who co-leads Egon Zehnder’s CEO Practice in India, chief executives are, in general, quite confident in their skills and their abilities, but at the same time also admit that certain parts of the role have proven more challenging and isolating than anticipated.
It is a truism of corporate governance that a strong, highly functioning board can be an invaluable asset to management, going beyond oversight to provide guidance and strategic counsel to the CEO and his or her team. But these benefits can only be realized if the board and management have the trust and transparency that allows for candid, constructive conversation.
In our role as leadership advisors, we are often asked to conduct board effectiveness reviews. These comprehensive studies help boards improve their performance by recommending specific changes that impact board dynamics, process improvements and governance.
Leadership has never been easy. Yet given the current volatility of the external world—stemming from geopolitical uncertainty, activist pressure, a new generation of employees, and digital disruption—running a large company is both more challenging and less secure than it’s ever been, as the daily drumbeat of CEO departures shows.