How Insider CEOs Succeed

“When an organization taps one of its current executives to be its new CEO, the transition might seem straightforward,” write WittKieffer CEO Andrew Chastain and co-author Michael Watkins in the March/April 2020 issue of Harvard Business Review. After all, “They know the organization, its history, and its culture. They understand its strategy and might have been intimately involved in developing it. They’ve established credibility and support.”

One would think the transition for an internally hired CEO would be easier than for an external one. However, as Chastain and Watkins note, there are five main hurdles that internal CEO hires face that are comparable in magnitude to those faced by other CEOs—not the least of which is realizing that decisions have to be made that will disappoint even one’s ardent supporters.

Chastain and Watkins support their article with input from more than a half-dozen CEOs who experienced for themselves the difficulties of being promoted from within.

Read: How Insider CEOs Succeed in Harvard Business Review