Why the CHRO should become the CEO

It is a fact that the CHRO position is the least likely to become the CEO. Here are three reasons why having a CEO with CHRO experience benefits the organization.

Everyone can write articles identifying why the CHRO (Chief Human Resources Officer) never becomes the CEO (Chief Executive Officer).The basic premise is true. The executive least likely to become CEO is the CHRO.

Rather than beat this drum again, Jeremie Brecheisen, Senior Managing Consultant at Gallup, has addressed the issue from the other side. His article at gallup.com entitled, Why HR Leaders Never Become the CEO, but Shouldprovides great information for every organization.

A positive approach

He outlines three ways it is an advantage to the organization to have a CEO with previous CHRO experience. In each case, he defines the challenge for the CEO and the opportunity for the CHRO.

The three advantages that he identifies are:

  1. They can increase human capital returns during mergers and acquisitions. (which are occurring with greater frequency.)
  2. They can conquer agility by creating a culture of psychological safety. (the need for speedy decisions and innovation  requires a culture of safety for such actions) 
  3. They can help their company build trust both internally and externally. (employee trust in organizations is low; low trust leads to increased turnover)

While great points are made, it is probably the CEOs and executive search committees that should read and heed this article. They are the decision makers that are either not including the CHRO in succession planning or considering that individual when the CEO slot is open.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

There is still room for discussion on why the CHRO is not being considered for the CEO position. I don’t believe it is because the CHROs are all taking themselves out of consideration. But that is a discussion for a separate post. I have strong opinions, especially related to healthcare, on why CHROs are rarely considered.

In the meantime, it is nice to see the unique skill sets that the CHRO position can bring to the top spot! You might see other advantages that a seasoned CHRO could bring to the top position. If, so comment and add them to the list!

1 thought on “Why the CHRO should become the CEO

  1. A lot of words but I’ll make it simple. If you want to be the boss, it is mostly about eye contact and the stance. Intense glare, body slightly forward and, oh, yeah the growl. Make sure you don’t growl through your nose. Too high pitched and nasally. Use your whole diaphragm and give a deep growl from the back of your throat. Then you’re the boss. We refer to the CEO as Alpha.

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