Good Governance: No higher calling

The challenge of effective CEO evaluation

by: Michael G. Daigneault, CCD

It never fails…when I’m with a group of board members (which is very, very often) and I ask “What are your core responsibilities?” someone will always say, “to hire and fire the CEO.” And yes, I suppose at a very basic level this is true. Perhaps there is no more important decision a typical credit union board makes than in the hiring of a CEO.

There is, of course, so much more to developing a successful relationship with a credit union CEO than in his or her hiring and firing. If you were to think back over your career and consider the best mentors you had — the ones who were able to elicit from you your finest moments as an employee—certainly you would consider their contributions to your career far beyond the moment they hired (or even fired) you.

Indeed “CEO support and oversight” (not solely hiring and firing the CEO)  is a key board responsibility that Quantum Governance focuses on. (The others are governance and leadership; performance and results; strategic thinking, learning and planning; budget and resources; membership and community outreach; and stewardship, ethics and financial integrity.

On the whole, my colleagues and I sometimes worry that credit union directors spend too much time focusing on fiduciary and operational- related matters. Ideally, we would like to see you talk a bit more at the strategic level in the board room. However, one area where we do see a great deal of variability–and perhaps a greater need to focus at the fiduciary level—is in the assessment process of the CEO.

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