Quels sont les membres de la haute direction susceptibles d’être congédiés par un nouveau PCD (CEO) ?

Cet article de Sarah Green, paru dans HBR Blog Network, présente une entrevue avec David Astorino, le directeur d’une recherche qui porte sur la probabilité de changement des membres de la haute direction selon que le nouveau président et chef de direction (PCD-CEO) provient de l’externe ou de l’interne. On verra que dans les deux cas, des changements significatifs sont à prévoir, mais pas nécessairement dans les mêmes postes.

Cet article est vraiment très intéressant car il explore un sujet-clé de la succession au sommet stratégique de l’organisation. Le PCD a besoin d’une équipe de grande compétence mais surtout de personnes en qui il a une totale confiance.

Ainsi, on notera que le PCD externe aura beaucoup plus tendance à congédier son CFO et son directeur des ressources humaines (CHRO). Également, près de la moitié des PCD externes changent de directeur des affaires juridiques et/ou secrétaire corporatif. Le chercheur ne semble pas être en mesure d’expliquer pourquoi !

President Barack Obama talks with Michael G. M...
President Barack Obama talks with Michael G. Morris, right, of American Electric Power Company, and David Cote in the Cross Hall of the White House, before a dinner with CEOs, Feb. 24, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vu sous l’angle d’un membre de conseils d’administration, avez-vous une idée des raisons qui incitent les PCD à congédier leurs directeurs des affaires juridiques ?

Voici un extrait de cet article du HBR ainsi que quelques questions sous-jacentes (voir l’article pour les réponses offertes). Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

Who New CEOs Fire First ?

New research by RHR international shows which executives incoming CEOs are likely to replace, and highlights some differences between first-time CEOs and more seasoned chief executives. I interviewed Dr. David Astorino, Global Practice Leader for Senior Team Effectiveness, about the findings. Below is an edited version of our conversation.

Your survey showed that as much as CEOs had shaken up their senior team, looking back on it they wished they’d moved even faster.  Why ?

When they look back, and you ask them what you would have done differently, they almost always say, « I knew in my gut that was not going to work with that individual, and I wish I had trusted that gut feeling and made that decision faster. » By delaying the transformation of a particular function or business unit, they’re now six months behind. That’s often where that comment comes from. There are some other factors, but that’s the main one.


What are some of those other factors ?

A lot of it relates to organizational knowledge. They hesitate because they don’t feel like they know enough about what’s going on. You’ll also see a real difference between first-time CEOs and people who’ve been a CEO before, especially if that first-time CEO is coming from outside the company. They don’t trust themselves as much, and they tend to not be as suspicious, frankly, as CEOs who have been there, done that before. They tend to wait too long. CEOs who’ve been around the block a bit more say, « I’d rather risk losing institutional knowledge and get someone in there I trust. »


  1. HBR has published research suggesting that insider CEOs are more effective than outsiders. Could part of the reason be that outsiders replace so much of their staff with other outsiders, lacking that institutional knowledge ?

  2. So to that point about skills, how much of this is really about bringing in new skills, and how much of it is about what you mentioned earlier — just looking for people they can trust, people they’re comfortable with ?

  3. Speaking of functions, it wasn’t terribly surprising to me that the CHRO and the CMO are two that are likely to leave. But why the General Counsel ?

  4. What about the difference between insider and outsider CEOs — they really seem to replace different functional heads. Insiders are much more likely to replace the COO, for instance, while outsiders are more likely to replace the CFO. Why the discrepancy ?

  5. What are some of the other differences between first-time CEOs and more experienced CEOs ?

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