Changes at the top: CEO succession and success

On June 16 and 18, 2014, Strategy& organized exclusive gatherings for alumni and clients in Abu Dhabi and Doha, respectively, with the theme “Changes at the top: CEO succession and success.” Led by Per-Ola Karlsson, senior partner at Strategy& in the Middle East and co-author of our latest publication, The 2013 Chief Executive Study, these gatherings presented excellent opportunities for the firm to share the report’s findings on CEO succession and success, as well as to foster business relationships and network over cocktails.

For each of the last 14 years, Strategy& has examined CEO transitions and the incoming class of CEOs at the world’s largest 2,500 public companies.

This has allowed us to acquire a deep understanding of what companies are looking for in a CEO and how the role is changing. It also reveals how governance practices around the world are changing and evolving toward global norms for good governance. The study of CEOs is particularly relevant to Middle East companies, which are highly ambitious and are increasingly competing with the global top tier.


The two events witnessed attendance from a number of clients and alumni, in addition to Strategy& partners and principals who were present at the event to welcome our guests and contribute to the discussions on this important topic.

“When a CEO is forced out, appointing a new CEO is a time-sensitive decision. Companies that do not have effective succession practices in place more often have to rely on outsiders to fill the position quickly,” said Per-Ola Karlsson. “Companies continue to select CEOs who are familiar faces, particularly when it comes to nationality and international experience, suggesting that the ‘global CEO’ is more mythical than real,” he added.

A client was quick to send a thank you note after the event. “I found the seminar to be very informative and really enjoyed being there. This is certainly something that our company would like to get Per-Ola’s input on once we finalize our diversification strategy and start considering the new CEO to take the company forward,” he wrote.

We look forward to continuing the discussions with alumni and clients beyond these events. To learn more about the study and download study material, please click here.