The Change Is Unexpected Or Planned Departure Of A Chief Executive Officer

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Every nonprofit organization undergoes leadership changes at some point. Whether the change is unexpected or planned, it can result in a period of dangerous organizational uncertainty or offer opportunities for greater accomplishments. Without a transition plan in place, a sudden or planned departure of a chief executive officer, chief financial officer or other upper management official can seriously degrade the performance of a nonprofit organization. Experienced transition leadership and adequate planning will minimize disruption and maintain the mission of the organization, as well as offer the possibilities of further growth and development.
More than 3,000 executives of nonprofit organizations participated in a national study conducted by CompassPoint and the Meyer Foundation in 2011 (Cornelius, Moyers, & Bell, 2011, p. 2). Sixty-seven percent of these executives indicated they plan on leaving their organizations within five years (See Table). In addition, this survey revealed that “despite 15 years of attention to the issue, a number of key practices associated with effective executive transition are not widespread. Executives and boards are still reluctant to talk proactively about succession and just 17% of organizations have a documented succession plan” (Cornelius et al., 2011, p. 3).
When adding unexpected executive departures to these statistics, the ramifications of insufficient transitional planning are alarming. It was reported in the news

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