Investor Relations

Press Release

Succession Planning in the C-suite Lagging, According to Korn/Ferry Executive Quiz

November 17, 2009

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The most recent Executive Quiz results released today by the Korn/Ferry Institute indicate the majority of companies are not prepared for succession in the C-suite.

The survey shows that 59 percent of executives do not feel their company has a defined succession plan in place. The quiz results also suggest that most companies are not adequately prepared should their CEO resign suddenly. When executives were asked if they knew who would assume leadership of their company, just slightly more than half (56 percent) said "yes."

Illustrating the risk of operating without a succession plan, the majority (68 percent) of executives said that the departure of their current CEO/president would be extremely or somewhat damaging to the company. Only 21 percent said it would not be damaging, while 11 percent said it would be beneficial.

"C-suite succession planning is one of the most important charters of any organization and its board of directors," said Joe Griesedieck, vice chairman and managing director of Korn/Ferry's Board & CEO Services. "In the wake of the economic downturn, many companies have been focused on preserving the franchise and have reluctantly put off the critical succession planning process. A clearly defined plan, put in place well ahead of a CEO's departure, not only mitigates risk, but thwarts off counterproductive leadership struggles stemming from lack of clarity."

While many executives feel corporate-wide succession plans are not as defined, they feel more confident that a successor is being groomed to take their own individual post. Fifty-nine percent of executives reported knowing who would assume their role if they left their company today.


The Executive Quiz is based on a global survey of executives registered within the firm's online Executive Center, Respondents from 70 countries, representing a wide spectrum of industries and functional areas, participated in the most recent Executive Quiz in October 2009.

About The Korn/Ferry Institute

The Korn/Ferry Institute was founded to serve as a premier global voice on a range of talent management and leadership issues. The Institute commissions, originates and publishes groundbreaking research utilizing Korn/Ferry's unparalleled expertise in executive recruitment and talent development combined with its preeminent behavioral research library. The Institute is dedicated to improving the state of global human capital for businesses of all sizes around the world.

About Korn/Ferry International

Korn/Ferry International, with a presence throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, is a premier global provider of talent management solutions. Based in Los Angeles, the firm delivers an array of solutions that help clients to attract, develop, retain and sustain their talent. Visit for more information on the Korn/Ferry International family of companies, and for thought leadership, intellectual property and research.

SOURCE Korn/Ferry International

Asia Pacific, Carol Lo, + 65 6231 6219,, or EMEA, Juerg-Herbert Baertschi, +44 20 7312 3178,, both of Korn/Ferry International, or The Americas, Kevin Oates, +1-310-584 8331,

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