Executive Succession Planning at Wells Fargo Minimizes Impact of CFO's Sudden Departure
Good Planning Ensures Bank's Annual Report on Track for Ontime Release
To many organizations, the sudden departure of a CFO at year-end and tax time would spell disaster. Fortunately for Wells Fargo, good executive succession planning has minimized the impact of this untimely event. Howard I. Atkins, Wells Fargo’s chief financial officer and senior executive vice president, abruptly retired last Tuesday, citing personal reasons.
The San Francisco-based bank, named its chief administrative officer, Timothy J. Sloan, as the replacement for Mr. Atkins, who will turn 60 this week. Mr. Sloan’s former duties will shift to Patricia Callahan, who leads the company’s Office of Transition. Fortunately for Well Fargo and its shareholders, the bank announced today that the release of its annual report would not be delayed.
Executive succession planning is a process that ensures that your business has the right executives in the right jobs at the right time to achieve your expected results. This discipline helps organizations understand their current state, forecast talent gaps and take the necessary steps to close those gaps. It is a core business process that is often handled by the HR department, but it is so important to the success of a business that business leaders should approach it proactively and take ownership of it.
We’ve all heard the saying that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” The traditional strategic planning process often focuses heavily on large capital expenditures, technology and marketing investments. But the traditional process focuses too little on the organization and the human resources necessary for sound execution. It is almost as if the business takes for granted that it already has people with the necessary capabilities. The truth is that it can take several months, if not years, to get the right people in the right jobs, and this can seriously hinder the execution of even the most well thought out strategy.
We polled our experts and asked them to define a simple, straightforward executive succession planning process. The steps in the strategic workforce planning process are:
- Establish where your business is going
- Understand where the labor market is going
- Understand your future talent demands
- Assess your current talent inventory
- Identify your talent gaps and strategies to close them
- Implement your strategies
Valid, reliable assessments, such as the ProfileXT and the Checkpoint360 enable executive succession planning by providing an in depth, objective view of an executive's innate strengths and demonstrated behaviors consistently across an organization. This information can be use to evaluate leadership readiness, pinpoint developmental needs, and craft an effective executive succession plan to ensure minimal disruption.
Edited by: Jeff Meyers