Leadership succession with strategy Featured

9:56am EDT July 7, 2010

This business truth will not shock you: Things change. Constantly.

But while many organizations have change management plans in place for everything from an acquisition to laying off employees, handling a leadership change often puts companies into a tailspin. For small and midmarket organizations, the leader is often the person who drove the company to its highest levels of success. At larger organizations that leader is usually the one who sets the tone. Either way, when that person steps down, employees and clients get nervous.

So it was likely that the board at Kennedy Health System had to hold its breath when Richard E. Murray stepped down as president and CEO in May 2009. In nearly three decades at Kennedy, including his final 17 as the CEO, Murray had been the catalyst for keeping up with the ever-changing environment at the health system, positioning his 3,600 employees for success through anything.

But Murray planned his succession long before his last days at Kennedy. By the time he stepped down, then-COO Marty Bieber was ready to step into the CEO role and Murray stayed on as a consultant to help the transition.

In an interview with Executive Leaders Radio in March 2009, Murray discussed this process and how to adapt to change. (The interview with Murray starts at 13:48).

Similarly, in a February 2009 story with Smart Business, Murray detailed his succession plan.

He broke his process down into three steps.

Make the best hire

Keep your people informed

Manage the change

Executive Leaders Radio and Smart Business are content partners. Executive Leaders Radio is dedicated to honoring individuals who have risen to leadership roles through hard work and dedication. Murray appeared on the same show as Craig Stiffler, president and COO of Homasote, Dr. Thomas Lewis, president of Salus University, and Alan Harti, president, Lenape Valley Foundation.