What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Among the most important tasks that any board confronts is the choice of head staff person. If anything, this decision has even greater significance in family foundations. Whether the position is vacant because of the retirement of a beloved CEO or the departure of a problematic one, CEO transitions in family foundations typically have three major stages: clarifying the foundation direction, identifying a suitable successor, and realigning the foundation’s strategies and/or programs as necessary.
PART I: THOUGHTS FROM AN OUTSIDE OBSERVER
All CEOs bring certain strengths. They use their strengths to develop programs, structure and governance. Other things they don’t do as well get delegated or ignored. Hiring a new CEO offers the opportunity to rebalance the scales, to review and reaffirm what is important and to identify a leader with the strengths needed at this next point in the lives of the family and its foundation and philanthropy.
PART II: THE FAMILY BOARD MEMBER PERSPECTIVE
Take your time, prepare, get help and make sure all voices are heard. These key recommendations come from family board members of two family foundations with recent experience with a CEO transition.
Read the full article about CEO transitions by Alice Buhl at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.