Tuesday, June 23, 2015
This is a case study of what to do when a CEO dies unexpectedly at a young age. Employees need time to mourn but they also need to be refocused on their jobs. HR has to parry calls from companies seeking to recruit away staff. Senior executives need mentoring for how to carry on in the absence of the leader. A caretaker chairman or CEO needs to step in to keep operations running. The board needs to launch a search for a successor and review its succession plans. The company's strategy needs emphasis so the business doesn't drift. PR should show the world how the company is doing and how it is getting back to normal. There should be a focus on positive messages and rebuttal of negative ones. The fundamental theme is that no company should be dependent on one man. There are such companies, but they tend not to rise above proprietorships, and SurveyMonkey is well beyond that stage. The company might struggle for a while but that is to be expected. A new CEO can jump-start the business and help employees put grief in the past. No one will forget the former CEO but they will carry on.