Board succession planning is less about the proverbial “bus test” and more about maintaining a fully capable, competent, and functioning board that is equipped with the necessary skills, experience, independence and diversity of thought to properly discharge the duties of a board. This holds true in whichever sector the board is operating. There is very good guidance available from organisations such as the ICSA and the IoD.

That said, there is no substitute for having the services and guidance of a good corporate secretary to lead and hold succession planning on behalf of the board and its nominations committee. In some extreme situations, there may be a lacuna during which there is no chair, chief executive officer, or possibly even a board in office.

Responsibility for maintaining corporate continuity under these circumstances may rest with the corporate secretary. Succession planning for the board is seldom a HR function, but HR specialists should be consulted for expert advice on some HR elements of succession planning.