By Penny de Valk, Associate Director, Equiteq
Leadership succession involving a transition from the founders has its own specific challenges. Founders leave a huge legacy in the business, which in one sense is extremely valuable but can also result in a level of dependency that introduces risk.
Governance roles will change at exit, when an owner/founder will typically move from an executive position. The challenge here is that the owner/founder will need to be conscious of their change in role and step back sufficiently to allow successors to create their own leadership identity, while still continuing to offer their unique skills and experience in a broader governance role.
If you’re a founder preparing for a transition, getting it right involves ensuring you set up the new CEO for success, while simultaneously moving away from the operational side of the business and continuing to add value.
The difficulty for founders is they are used to being in control and making decisions independently, which means trusting the new leader can be difficult.
If they do achieve this, it ensures value is not diluted. In fact, it can result in value being enhanced.