What Happens After a Larger-than-life Leader Steps Back
Transitions can be extremely challenging
In recent weeks, two high-profile figures announced their plans to step down from their CEO roles. Both were legends in their respective fields.
One, departing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is credited with bringing e-commerce to the masses and building a business around cloud computing, making both bedrocks of the American economy. (He’ll be transitioning into an executive chairman role in July, with Andy Jassy taking his place.) The other, longtime U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue, modernized that organization’s role as the voice of American businesses over the past quarter century. (Donohue, 83, will be retiring in March, with Suzanne Clark, the Chamber’s current president, taking his place.)
These figures were titans at their organizations, and many associations have a similar figurehead at the top. Yet associations may not be prepared for their leader’s departure, said Gary LaBranche, FASAE, CAE, president and CEO of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI).
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