What to do when a company leader leaves

Leaders are essential to the success of a company.  They inspire team members to accomplish great things, by being supportive, sharing their vision and engaging with people.

“Leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals.”


But what happens when a company leader leaves, what do we do then?

When company leader leaves, a sense of emptiness and confusion can be generated around how to keep moving and this may have a negative effect on the entire company’s performance.

We are Zavala Civitas Executive Search Firm, specializing in the Chinese market, and in our day-to-day, we see many businesses in these situations. Here we present you a Guide on what to do when a company leader leaves, according to our experience.

Acknowledge the change and prepare for it.

First, don’t just move forward and pretend nothing has happened. The departure of a company leader is a major change and any companies lose their focus when this happens (a well-known example is the case of Apple after Steve Jobs left in 1985 and the company started to lose its innovative factor.

So we ought to seize the moment to reevaluate where we are as a company and where we want to be in the future. Where are we heading? To answer these kinds of key questions properly it is necessary to remember the main values of the company and make company employees core values ambassadors, so they understand it better and don’t feel lost at any point when the changes happen.

Know where the company is and where it wants to be.

Second, when reevaluating where the organization stands, an alignment is recommended and it is better if we do it with external help, as it gives us an impartial point of view of what is going on.

This is an opportunity to listen to the organization, to deeply understand it, and learn from it, so we end up with solid bases for later improvement. It is also necessary to know how the company climate is. Knowing how employees feel, their level of engagement. At this point, we need to establish trust and communication bridges.

Take action and work for the future

At the end, we need to decide where the company is going. Provide guidance and orientation. Establish open communication and continuously be aware of how people are feeling and remember that, especially those who are leaving, can provide great insights.

It is also recommended to compare the cultural values of the company and what is actually happening and start shaping and acting upon what we want it to be. These include hiring the right people who fit with what you want the company to be.


When a company leader leaves is definitively a moment of change and we must ensure that it is for good. Always maintain open communication so everyone can move and work towards the same objectives, and always work to make things better but maintaining the company’s


Harvard Business Review. Jan-Feb 2022. Web.https://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsegal/2022/01/13/outside-ceo-candidates-outperform-in-house-choices-new-study/

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