Succession Planning Means More Than Just Replacing People


Succession planning means more than just having a set of instructions in place for your board to follow in case you unexpectedly die, according to a panel of CEOs that participated in last week’s Not For CEOs discussion held at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington DC.

“A succession plan is not the same thing as a replacement plan,” said Brandon Michaels, CEO of the 52,000-member, $477 million Mazuma Credit Union in Kansas City, Mo.

A replacement plan is a piece of paper that tells the credit union board who they can turn to replace you in an emergency, Michaels explained. A succession plan is a proactive effort to cultivate and develop the next generation of leaders for the credit union.

Michaels appeared on the panel with Ronaldo Hardy, CEO of the 3,000-member, $28 million Shell Geismar FCU in Gonzalez, Louisiana, and Stan Hollen, CEO of CO-OP Financial Services, the big California-based payments CUSO.

Sarah Snell Cooke, editor/publisher of Credit Union Times, moderated the panel, which was broadcast over a live Internet feed from CO-OP’s booth at the GAC trade show.

Hardy and Michaels, who are both under age 40, emphasized that, properly understood, succession planning means more than merely planning for eventual replacements, it should be a way of tapping into the full talent of everyone on the credit union staff.

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