16. Succession Planning

Stability of Board membership assists the School in taking a longer-term perspective on strategic issues. It is the role of the Board to effectively manage its own succession risk. Special attention needs to be paid to succession planning for key positions such as Chair, Deputy Chair, Heads of Committees and the Principal.

The Board (either directly or through a nominations committee) should identify suitable candidates for election to the Board. It needs to consider where gaps will appear in the future with respect to a balance of skills.

If the Board has a nomination committee it should disclose the charter and members of the committee. If the Board does not have a nomination committee, the Board should disclose that it does not have a nomination committee as well as the processes it uses to address Board succession issues.

Effective succession planning involves:

  • clearly defined roles for the Chair and Board Members
  • an effective performance management structure that:
  • occurs periodically and evaluates performance of the Board, committees and of individual directors
  • enables identification of Board Members who are potential successors to the Chair
  • enables recognition of the gaps between the Board Members’ current sets of competencies and the competencies required to credibly step up to the position of chair
  • the creation of a development plan for Board Members in order to prepare an appropriate succession structure within the Board.

The following diagram is useful for ascertaining the gap between existing Board Members’ competencies and the skills required for the Chair position:

Competency based succession model

The skills matrix established to choose Board Members can also assist in succession planning to ensure that an appropriate level of expertise is maintained.