CMO succession planning: How to prepare the path for a new leader

CMO turnover is notably high, but what responsibility do they have to plan for the next in line? Rebecca Ley talks to Claire Macland, Sakina Najmi and Jada Balster about how to prepare the next generation of leaders for the challenges ahead.

CMOs have the shortest tenure of those in the c-suite, with the average only staying in post for 3.6 years, according to a recent report by executive-search firm Spencer Stuart (March, 2018). This compares to a stint of about eight years for a CEO. 

It’s understandable that a new CMO would want to rip up their predecessor’s plans, but when it happens often it can have a negative effect on the continuity of the marketing department’s efforts. CMOs should consider finding and nurturing their own successor in order to pass on the baton with minimal disruption.

It’s often ideal to promote internally. Hiring someone you know creates less risk, avoids recruitment costs and shows your other employees that promotion is achievable. But who’s responsible for ensuring those successors are match fit? The marketing leaders we spoke to were clear that the onus is on the employee to do the legwork, while it’s the responsibility of their leaders to create a fertile ground for them to do so.

This feature has been written exclusively for our members. Membership is free and only takes five minutes to complete, giving you access to the following:
  • A culture of confidence: How to create the right environment for future leaders.
  • The next generation: Setting realistic expectations for millennials' their career paths.
  • The reluctant successor: How to encourage future leaders who lack confidence.
  • Effective planning: Making sure your next in line is ready for the gig.