There have been discussions before about this question, and an incident earlier in the year has stirred this conversation once again; should CEO candidates be required to undergo and or pass a physical? The incident involved a CEO of a major airline who had a heart attack, and the fact that it occurred approximately one short month after his hire date has only made this conversation louder.
Two primary considerations seem to be the driving force behind this most recent discussion, the weight and responsibility that CEO positions carry, and the investment in these positions. The general consensus about how physicals play a role in hiring is that either physicals are taken generally post hire or the results of physicals simply don’t hold much sway in the hiring decision.
Like the quarterback of a football team, or the leader of a military unit the CEO is often viewed as the primary or one of the main leaders in the direction and success or failure of an organization. From the executive decisions to the power and influence a CEO has, there is no disputing the importance and responsibilities that come with this vital company role. In accordance to that importance comes a salary that reflects this truth.
The investment that companies have in bringing on a CEO is most often the greatest expense they will incur. In addition to the financial investment, a company’s reputation, direction and often public perception can be greatly impacted.
With these considerations now being pushed even further to the center of the table as topics of concern in lieu of the incident earlier this year concerning that aforementioned CEO, it may just be a matter of time until this consideration manifests itself as a requirement. Korn Ferry’s Dennis Carey pointed out that the investment in executive recruiting can set companies back tens of millions of dollars.
Of course nothing has developed to suggest that this will happen yet, but even “yet” hints that the possibility is very real. For now, it is just a matter of keeping an eye on these discussions, as certainly many current and hopeful CEO candidates are, and maybe these future leaders are keeping an eye on their own health a little more closely now too.