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How CEOs ensure a smooth transition when moving to a new job or retiring

Tips from chief executives who have stepped down from a CEO role at least once

June 11, 2021
By Kathryn Walson

Leaving an association is a lot like leading an association: It requires careful planning, open communication with multiple stakeholders and prioritizing critical responsibilities. CEOs want to handle the transition with aplomb because their professional relationships and reputations depend on it.

Six association leaders spoke to CEO Update about what worked well when they departed associations. They described doing everything possible to ensure a smooth transition, including creating a transition plan, putting their staff at ease and helping the board find an executive search firm. CEOs leaving for other top jobs have to expertly juggle two roles at once.

Association chiefs typically give two to three months’ notice when leaving—or up to a year when retiring. But the transition work starts years before CEOs resign, with the creation of a succession plan. And the transition work can extend months beyond their departure date, as they serve as a resource to their successor.