The Role of the Executive Chair FAQ

In brief: For this memo, NACD defines the executive chair role as a temporary position fulfilled by the former combined CEO/chair who has relinquished the CEO title while remaining board chair and onboarding an incoming CEO. Creating this role is not standard practice for a CEO transition, with only 3 percent of respondents to the 2016–2017 NACD Public Company Governance Survey utilizing the role. However, the board may consider installing an executive chair, should the company be undergoing a period of stress or unique circumstances in which the incoming CEO needs additional guidance.

This resource can help your board to

  • learn about alternative uses of the term “executive chair”;
  • communicate with investors about board leadership structure; and
  • create an executive chair role description.

Most relevant audiences: CEO, board chair, lead independent director, nominating and governance committee chair, corporate secretary, and general counsel