Big data integral to CEO succession planning, says study

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Big data should be utilised in the planning of CEO succession, says executive search and selection firm Veredus.

The comment comes from the results of the [email protected] study from the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of Carolina, which revealed that current practices are insufficient in determining the best candidate for a CEO position.

Patrick Wright, Thomas C Vandiver Bicentenial chair at the University of South Carolina, said that the assessment processes of prospective CEOs must address three things: performance, capability and potential. He explained:

“Because the CEO role requires an almost exponential change in complexity, accountability, visibility, and communication, we suspected firms would invest heavily in gathering as much information as possible. However, this proved not to be the case.

“More information gathered over the course of a candidate’s career would provide a greater foundation for accurately predicting who will quickly and effectively adapt to these increased requirements.”

The survey showed that although 95 percent of respondents considered past performance when making decisions about senior members of staff that this data alone is not effective in predicting a candidate’s proficiency in a CEO role.

Nick Owen, CEO of executive search and selection firm Veredus said:

“Recruiting at senior level is no mean feat as the skills required of a CEO are broad, complex, and often ambiguous. The role of a CEO places new requirements on an individual that they may have never even experienced before and, as such, single or disjointed performance indicators are unlikely to be effective in determining the best candidates. By using all available data when mapping the careers of their employees, organisations can ensure that talent is effectively developed and pipelined for the future. Companies who fail to capitalise on the analytical capabilities that contemporary data management systems offer are certainly missing a trick.”

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