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In its latest annual analysis, The Conference Board, in collaboration with Heidrick & Struggles, tracks key trends in CEO succession practices at S&P 500 companies.

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The key is creating a culture where people are optimistic in the face of challenge, regularly seek to improve, and embrace the opportunities for reinvention that digital brings.

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As the date of a planned CEO succession nears, organization redesign can help make sure that a top internal candidate will be as well prepared as possible to make the demanding leap to the top job.

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Our work with leaders and organizations throughout the world has enabled us to identify a small handful of must-have qualities: empathy, business judgment, self-awareness, adaptability, integrity, passion, and courage. Based on our experience, a leader with these core attributes has a remarkably higher probability of success, regardless of what context they are thrown into.

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An overwhelming majority of boards select an internal candidate as their next CEO. Over 80% of the Fortune 1000 companies who named a new chief executive last year promoted a successor from within the company (Heidrick & Struggles F1000 CEO Turnover Data). The National Association of Corporate Directors found in its 2013-2014 NACD Public Company Governance Survey that executive talent management a

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