Transition Committee Duties & Responsibilities

Transition Committee Duties & Responsibilities (downloadable pdf) from Executive Transitions, provided by HR Council of Canada. Focused on executive-level employee turnover, this simple one-page document lays out all the considerations for a committee (or full Board, or individual, whatever you might need) to make the transition happen smoothly.


It is recommended that the Board of Directors appoint Board members to an ad hoc Transition Committee to oversee all the tasks essential to a successful transition in staff leadership. The Committee may include at least one staff representative, ideally chosen from by the staff themselves. Staff inclusion both brings an important perspective to the table and increases staff buy-in for the transition work and for the eventual hire. Some committees will ask staff to work on the agency assessment and future visioning but to not participate in candidate screening.

Duties of the Committee Include:

  1. Assure a healthy closure with the departing ED
    1. Acknowledgement of achievements and legacy; goodbye rituals
    2. Provide opportunities, especially to staff, for coming to terms with the loss of their leader and for visioning what they want in their next leader
    3. Elicit ED’s advice on future vision for agency and successor profile
    4. Transfer of key executive duties to staff, Board and successor — especially financial oversight, fund raising, contracts management and program oversight
    5. Clear definition of future role of departing ED, if any, with agency
  2. Plan the transition & search activities
    1. Contracting for level of outside consultation needed in the transition
    2. Updating the agency’s future vision
    3. Assessing the agency’s current status—strengths, challenges, opportunities
    4. Creating the profile of skills and characteristics needed in next ED
    5. Planning and executing the executive search
    6. Making personal contacts to recruit ED candidates
    7. Screening candidates, checking references and forwarding finalists to Board for selection
    8. Negotiating terms of employment with selected ED
    9. Appointing an interim executive if needed
    10. Announcing to all key external and internal stakeholders the transition and search plan
    11. Assuring proper involvement of staff in transition and search activities
  3. Assure a healthy beginning for the new ED
    1. Orientation to agency programs, systems, people, and stakeholders
    2. Establishment of solid lines of communication between Board and ED
    3. Delineation of initial performance goals for ED
    4. Identification of professional supports desired by the ED, e.g. mentor or coach, training
    5. Specification of performance evaluation system for ED and evaluation dates

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