OP-ED

BEN SSEBUGUZI: Good CEOs always give Boards hard time to sack

One reason CEOs hold on too long is that they can’t imagine what comes next,this tends to even suffocate grooming internal successors.

In the context of the NSSF, looking at how the current CEO, Richard Byarugaba and his illustrious career from Nile Bank to NSSF where he lifted the provident fund from dungeon to become the leading social security company in East Africa, I don’t think he can have a dim retirement with his reputation and legacy.

Probably even Kenya can’t fail to hire him as a consultant to lift their social security fund. But it is the board of directors who don’t want to let him go given the unique circumstances facing the global economy where by any poor decision making can down play the stability of the fund in this murky waters where business are struggling to stand.

This informs the reason why they are begging him to stay for more 5 years until when the sky is clear.

Secondly, the crusaders of his early retirement citing the Public service standing orders don’t know that the last Parliament past a private members bill on constitutional amendment seeking to increase the retirement age for judges from 70 years to 75 years.

Not long ago, most companies did (typically 65), but many have dropped it as health and longevity have improved.

Today when a board has a high-performing CEO who wants to continue, the directors are often willing to eliminate a mandatory retirement policy. At Ford, where CEOs traditionally retired at 65, the board asked Alan Mulally to stay until just before he turned 69.

Merck recently changed its policy to extend Ken Frazier’s tenure as chief executive after he turns 65. Mandatory retirement policies can be useful for forcing out leaders who are reluctant to step aside.

Ben Ssebuguzi is the Secretary general of Uganda Poor Youth Movement, a Public Opinions Certified Public Awareness and Information Dissemination Fellow

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