Look within for smoother transition, experts say on CEO succession

Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy’s recent remarks that he was completely wrong in keeping away the next generation of the promoter group out of the company has triggered a debate on CEO succession planning in India, with experts of the view that internal candidates need to be given a stronger chance given their understanding of the organisation’s vision, culture and competitive strengths and relative weaknesses.

Experts are of the view that internal candidates should be given an opportunity to lead their companies. In the CEO search and selection process such identified candidates should be given the first opportunity as they have the experience and a ringside view of the organisation’s path forward.

According to Succession Coach Suraj Malik, Managing Partner, Legacy Growth and Cofounder Priwexus VFO: “Internal cadres have the unique advantage of blending with the culture and purpose of an organisation, something which an outsider can take longer or find difficult. Also rewarding internal candidates by taking them to leadership roles inspires and motivates others who aspire to grow within the company.”

Recent reports have said that Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), the country’s largest consumer goods maker, has shortlisted possible chief executive candidates from within the organisation to take over from incumbent Sanjiv Mehta once he steps from the role in 2023.

“Succession planning is never simple in large organisations. This is particularly true for companies that have strong transnational footprints. It always helps if the chosen candidate is from within the organisation. The new leader has to be familiar with the company’s culture, vision, people, opportunities and challenges. An internal candidate minimises many risks associated with leadership transition,” says HR expert Sujitesh Das.




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