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When considering who is next in line to lead your company, think both short-term and long-term. For Avnet Executive Chairman Roy Vallee, this was a priority when he was tapped to lead the company in 1992. He oversaw growth from $2 billion to $26 billion for the electronics distributor.
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“Even in my first year as CEO, we started talking about who would be the candidates to replace me if I got hit by the proverbial beer truck,” he told MDM in a recent interview reflecting on changes in the industry. “And if that didn’t happen, who were the candidates I’d like to develop.”
In Avnet’s case, the board picked a COO nearly five years before Vallee retired his position with the intent of training him for the top position. “I think COO is an excellent position to use to train someone to become CEO,” Vallee said. Vallee spoke with then-COO Rick Hamada every day and was committed to making sure he had the right skills and knowledge to take over when the time was right.
“To have successful transitions, there has to be a commitment by the current CEO and the board to drive the process,” Vallee said.
Part of planning ahead is knowing where you want your company to go next. Get Brent Grover's The Little Black Book of Strategic Planning for Distributors for the blueprint to get you there.