CEO Mentoring



One of the Board's most important responsibilities is to appoint the best possible CEO, ensure optimal performance and be ready to replace the incumbent when necessary. Grooming of internal 'ready to go' candidates is essential to ensure smooth transitions - investors don't like surprises from unprepared Boards.

However, every first-time CEO will be confronted with the most significant change in his or her professional life when appointed to the ultimate executive leadership role. Strategic and financial thinking becomes more detached, relationships with former peers and colleagues are transformed and dealing with investors, analysts and the media takes on a different dimension. Relationships with the Non-Executives and the Chairman also change materially.

In summary, life suddenly becomes very lonely at the top. This is a pivotal stage in an individual's career and can have a significant impact on the fortunes of the company and its share price.

CEO Mentoring

Our answer to the challenge outlined above is to let internal candidates, or the heir apparent, be mentored by very seasoned former CEOs, themselves also having chairman experience. By thus managing the final stage of the preparation process, the Board will not only confirm its intention to invest in the individual executive's development (thereby helping to ensure retention of top talent), but will also increase the odds of success once appointed.
CMi's CEO Mentoring programme is designed to enable internal CEO candidates to anticipate how to deal with behavioural, personal and social interaction issues more effectively from the outset.

Engaging external CEO Mentors does not substitute for the Board's and incumbent CEO's responsibilities to nurture and support the internal candidate(s). It merely complements a well- managed transition process because it allows each candidate to bring up issues that he or she may not feel comfortable raising internally with the CEO, Chairman or other Directors of the company. It also provides opportunities to solicit a confidential second opinion with a neutral, seasoned former Chief Executive on key issues that are likely to be encountered in the new role.

The process remains completely confidential throughout the programme, i.e. no formal feedback from the Mentors should be expected by the Mentee's Chairman, CEO or Board. This is absolutely essential in order to be fully effective. Once appointed, the new CEO continues the relationship with the Mentors during the early stages of their new tenure. Often the relationship between Mentors and Mentee continues well beyond the term of the engagement, frequently becoming a lasting and valued professional friendship of mutual benefit for the years ahead and without the need for CMi's ongoing involvement.

This proposition is equally suited for early tenure CEOs, albeit from a different starting point.


"The high profile mentor I have worked with through CMi has been exceptional. We established quickly an open and robust relationship that allowed the exploration of matters of real substance to my development."


Chief Executive Officer, Standard Life

"My individual confidential meetings with experienced chairmen gave me the additional opportunity to discuss complicated international business challenges and to test ideas before implementation."


Chief Executive Officer, EE