Executive Leadership Succession Plan Policy

Resolution #11-08-07

Policy Statement:

A change in executive leadership is inevitable for all organizations and can be a very challenging time. Therefore, it is the policy of Worthington Libraries to be prepared for eventual changes in leadership - either planned or unplanned - to insure the stability and accountability of the Library. The Board of Trustees (Board) shall be responsible for implementing this policy and its related procedures.

It is also the policy of the Board to assess continually the leadership needs of the Library. This analysis will be useful in a succession process to help insure the selection of a qualified and capable leader who is representative of the community, a good fit for the library's mission, vision, values, goals and objectives, and who has the necessary skills for the Library. The Board's goal will be to conduct this assessment and search for a new Director in time to have the new Director in place as the former Director leaves. However, to insure the library's operations are not interrupted while the Board assesses the leadership needs and recruits a Director, the Board may appoint a staff member or consultant to assume the responsibilities of Director, if necessary, as described below. This person shall ensure that the Library continues to operate without disruption, that policies are implemented, and that all commitments previously made are adequately and effectively executed. A person selected as interim director should accept the position knowing that he/she may not be considered for appointment as director.

It is also the policy of Worthington Libraries to develop a diverse pool of candidates and to conduct a thorough review of at least three professional candidates. Worthington Libraries shall implement a national external recruitment process, while at the same time encouraging the professional development and advancement of current employees. Interested internal candidates will be encouraged to submit their qualifications for review and consideration according to guidelines established for the search and recruitment process.

Procedures for Succession:

In the temporary absence of the Director (i.e., illness or leave of absence), the Deputy Director shall perform the duties of Director. In the event the incumbent Director is no longer able to serve in this position (i.e., leaves the position suddenly and permanently), the Board shall do the following:

  1. Within 5 business days, appoint an interim Director.
  2. Within 15 business days, the President of the Board shall appoint an executive transition committee, in the event that a permanent change in leadership is required. This committee shall be comprised of three members of the Board and may, with the consent of the Board, include one staff representative and one community representative appointed by the President of the Board. It shall be the responsibility of this committee to implement the following preliminary transition steps:
    1. Communicate with key stakeholders regarding actions taken by the Board in naming an interim successor, appointing a transition committee, and implementing the succession policy. The Library shall maintain a current list of key stakeholders who must be contacted, such as community leaders, elected officials, etc.
    2. Consider the need for consulting assistance (i.e., transition management or executive search consultant) based on the circumstances of the transition.
    3. Review the library's strategic plan and conduct a brief assessment of organizational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to identify priority issues that may need to be addressed during the transition process and to identify attributes and characteristics that are important to consider in the selection of the next Director.
    4. Establish a time frame and plan for the recruitment and selection process, including a component of the plan detailing steps to be taken to assure the inclusion of the perspectives of as many stakeholders as possible in the recruitment and screening process.
    5. Prior to interviewing any candidates for the permanent position, the Board shall review the results of the analysis done in Step c, above, and review the Library's financial resources. The Board shall then use such information to develop a profile of an ideal candidate and to agree upon potential elements of a tentative compensation package to be offered a successful candidate. The profile should be used to review and screen applicants and to guide interviewing of the candidates. While the compensation package offered a successful candidate may differ from that developed at this stage of the process, the tentative package should be used in the screening process to define the general parameters within which any final negotiation should take place.
    6. The committee shall be free to consider any library professional they deem suited to the position regardless of that person's status as a formal applicant. The committee may recruit into the search pool any library professional from among current staff or from another institution assuming such invited candidate appears to meet the profile.

The Board should use similar policies and procedures in case of an executive transition that simultaneously involves the Director and other key management. In such instance, the Board may also consider temporarily subcontracting some of the organizational functions to a trained consultant or other organizations.

Adopted by the Board of Trustees 11-20-07, effective 11-21-07