Executive Survey Finds Most CFOs Have Not Identified a Successor

MENLO PARK, CA -- Few financial executives know who will fill their shoes one day, but most have no plans for leaving, a new survey shows.  The majority (83 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled said they have not identified a successor for their positions.  Seventy-four percent of respondents cited no plans to leave their present companies in the near future as the primary reason.  

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world’s premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis.  It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

CFOs were asked, “Have you identified a successor for your position?”  Their responses:

Yes   16%
No   83%
Don't know/no answer      1%

CFOs who have not identified their successor also were asked, “Which one of the following most accurately describes your reason for not identifying your successor?”  Their responses:

Not planning on leaving in the near future   74%
No qualified candidates currently working at your organization   12%
Too busy focusing on other concerns   6%
Not a priority as you would no longer be with the company   5%
Other   2%
Don't know/no answer      1%

“Executives should plan for all contingencies, even if they have every intention of staying in their current role,” said Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources.  “Change -- planned or otherwise -- is a fact of life and companies that are prepared are better equipped to maintain productivity during times of transition.”

McDonald noted that with many baby boomers nearing retirement, succession planning is especially important.  He noted that it is never too early to identify and prepare promising candidates for leadership positions.  “Advance planning ensures a smoother transition when passing on the management reins.”

Robert Half Management Resources has more than 140 offices throughout North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, and offers online job search services at



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