79th Academy of Management Annual Meeting
Founder CEO Succession is known to be particularly difficult in founder managed firms (FMFs) and failure rates are high. Yet some firms do succeed and develop into sustainable organizations. We know rather little, however, about the necessary conditions and key determinants of successful founder CEO succession and how founders and successors in these successful firms deal with the challenges and dilemmas in the succession process. To fill that gap, we conducted in-depth case studies of four successful and four unsuccessful founder-CEO successions to non-family members in non- state-owned firms in China. Four patterns of founder CEO succession emerged in our study. We identify the necessary conditions and critical actions required of successful founder CEO succession, and develop policy recommendations for both founders and successors.