Global Survey: Top Execs Lack Confidence in Corporate Leadership

Jun 29, 2010, 07:00 ET from Egon Zehnder International

NEW YORK, June 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Top executives consider their companies poorly prepared to face future challenges in terms of leadership line-up, according to a global survey of senior executives conducted by Egon Zehnder International, a global executive search firm.  Nearly 70 percent of executives do not believe there is sufficient leadership potential in such skills as the ability to drive change, drive customer focus, basic business competencies and innovation skills.  

Additionally, the survey shows that nearly 70 percent of top executives in global companies do not believe they have a well documented succession plan in place. The Egon Zehnder survey on "Resilience" queried 836 top managers across the globe from countries including: Australia, Denmark, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, India, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA about how they experienced the recent financial and economic crisis and their expectations for the future.  For complete study please visit:

"Corporate Boards need to examine their future plans and determine if they have an effective leadership succession plan in place," said George L. Davis, Jr., a member of executive search firm Egon Zehnder International's Executive Management Committee and Co-Managing Partner of the Global Board Practice.

Despite the belief by many that there is an overall lack of leadership succession planning in global companies, 88 percent of these companies that do have plans revisit these plans periodically to ensure consistency with corporate strategy.  Indian executives expressed the most concern with eighty four percent of top managers indicating they do not have a well documented succession plan. Yet only 67 percent -far below the global average of 88 percent - of those Indian companies with a plan in place review it periodically to ensure it is consistent with corporate strategy.

In the US, only 32 percent of executives believe there is a succession plan process in place despite the fact that US public companies face increased SEC and shareholder scrutiny to ensure a CEO succession plan has been established.  New SEC guidelines redefine succession planning responsibilities as a key board function.  

"The lack of planning for expected and unexpected changes in top leadership puts a company at great risk," said Justus O'Brien, co-leader, North America CEO Succession and Board Services Practices, Egon Zehnder International.  "Boards need to be prepared for enhanced disclosure requirements which mandate a leadership succession plan," he added.

About the Methodology

The Study was conducted by Egon Zehnder International in April 2010 among top executives in Australia, Denmark, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, India, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA.

The objective of the survey was to examine corporate management issues.  A global total of 836 executives were surveyed. Small and medium-sized businesses as well as major corporations across many different industries were represented on this distinguished panel. Egon Zehnder International first held an online survey in 2004 to question top leaders about current issues in corporate management.

About Egon Zehnder International

Egon Zehnder International is one of the largest privately-held executive search firms in the world with nearly 400 consultants operating from 63 wholly owned offices in 37 countries.  The firm specializes in senior-level executive search, board consulting and director search, management appraisals, and talent management.  Egon Zehnder International's clients range in size from the world's largest corporations to emerging growth companies to government and regulatory bodies and major educational and cultural organizations. Egon Zehnder International has sector specialists organized into global practices. These include Industrial, Financial Services, Consumer, Life Sciences, Technology & Communications, Services, Private Capital and Sovereign Wealth Funds. For more information visit

SOURCE Egon Zehnder International