Should Retired CEO Join Former CU's Board?

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Editor's Note: Credit Union Retired Executives, a resource for free, confidential management advice, is offering Credit Union Journal readers a glimpse into its with "Advice from the Brain Trust." CURE selects from among its user questions and publish the advice that was offered in response. CURE responses are put together by the group's think tank of retired credit union leaders. For info:

Q: A CEO close to retirement asked if he should stay on the board as a volunteer after he retires.

A: Although former CEOs do in some cases take a seat on their former boards — and some of these transitions prove to be successful — there are many more stories of these transitions proving to be negative, especially when someone asks the new CEO.

Because of these negatives, my recommendation is that when you retire stay away from the credit union-unless you are asked by the new CEO to help him or her in getting established; then, of course, you would do so, but only in a confidential manner. It is always hard to let go.

If you join the board, you'll discover that it is also hard to not get defensive about the decisions you made and the programs you implemented. Also, you'll find that the board will look more to you, the retired CEO, than to the new CEO-which will prevent the credit union from moving forward.

To ensure the credit union's success, the board should be looking to the future and learning to rely on the new CEO.

What about training the new CEO? Training the new CEO is definitely a positive, but it should be done before retirement, during any transition period or overlap. To avoid all the second-guessing and ensure a smooth transition, retire gracefully and bid the credit union farewell. As you leave, you can be proud of your contributions- but it's time to let the new CEO make his or her mark.

Your time is past. Their time is now. And that's as it should be.

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