Many companies have long said that employees are their most valuable asset. And employees continue to demand fair pay and benefits, work-life balance (including flexibility), interesting work, and opportunities to advance. In 2024, we expect continued scrutiny of how companies are adjusting talent strategies to meet the challenge of finding, developing, and retaining talent amid a labor-constrained market. To that end:

  • Does the board understand the company’s talent strategy and its alignment with the company’s broader strategy and forecast needs for the near and long term?
  • What are the challenges to keeping key roles filled with engaged employees?
  • Which talent categories are in short supply and how will the company successfully compete for this talent?
  • Does the talent strategy reflect a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at all levels?
  • As talent pools become generationally and globally diverse, is the company positioned to attract, develop, and retain top talent at all levels?

Pivotal to all of this is having the right CEO in place to drive culture and strategy, navigate risk, and create long-term value for the enterprise. Equally important is the need to ensure that the company is prepared for a CEO change – planned or unplanned, on a permanent or emergency interim basis. The importance of succession planning extends beyond the CEO though and should also cover the Executive Committee as a whole as well as key N-1 functions.

  • How robust are the board’s succession planning processes and activities?
  • Has the succession plan been updated to reflect the skills and experience necessary to execute against the company’s long-term strategy? Those strategies may have changed over the last two years.
  • How does the board get to know the high-potential leaders in the marzipan layers – two or three levels below the C-suite?


Succession planning is a dynamic, ongoing process, and the board should always be focused on developing a pipeline of C-suite and potential CEO candidates – starting from the day a new CEO or other Executive Committee member is named.