Global organizations worried about losing decades of knowledge when senior leaders retire can thank the recession for at least one thing. Thunderbird Professor Michael Moffett, Ph.D., said market turmoil has thwarted the retirement plans of many top executives and given a reprieve to companies scrambling to develop a new generation of talent.
“Nearly every global organization faces a major succession gap,” said Moffett, who holds the Continental Grain Professorship in Finance at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Ariz. “But many senior leaders are choosing not to retire so soon, given the recent market crises.”
Moffett said the extra time will allow companies to organize more of a “knowledge capture” from these leaders before they ride off into the sunset.
As academic director of Thunderbird’s various International Consortia programs, Moffett helps educate the new generation of leaders who must capture this knowledge and be ready for top management positions in two to five years.
Thunderbird’s International Consortia programs draw high-potential managers from a mix of industries such as oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and food services. But Moffett said companies that come to Thunderbird all share the same basic concerns about finding and developing global leaders.
“The general themes we hear from company after company don’t really change,” Moffett said. “They are short of people who can handle strategic changes, understand customers and communicate with their own teams.”
Moffett said the recession has stretched the careers of many senior leaders with global business skills, but these people will retire eventually.
“When that day comes,” he said, “companies need to be ready.”