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How to decide who's in charge of a merger

As with any complex project, the success of a merger will depend on leadership. Being clear about who leads the process, what their scope is and what is expected of them is an important early part of the process.
When thinking about a merger's leadership, consider these steps.


Who will lead the merger?

When the case for merger is being considered, CEOs from all merging organisations need to be actively leading the process on behalf of their teams. Once the decision to merge has been formally made, think about the options open to the new organisation. Consider whether the new CEO will be one of the existing ones or someone new. If the leader is to be new, consider appointing them as early as possible in the process after the decision to merge has been made. This will allow them to be involved in shaping the new organisation.


How should the CEOs be used?

Should one step out of their day job and take on the implementation stage, should both act as key sponsors for their organisations, or maybe an independent project manager should take on the day-to-day implementation working alongside staff teams?


What are the time and skills involved in leading the merger?

Even if this is an overseeing role for the CEOs, it is still time consuming at various points through the process. Make sure you have factored this into your thinking.


How will your leadership decisions be perceived?

Consider how staff, funders and beneficiaries across merging organisations will react to an existing CEO or new person leading the merger. For example, your decision could increase anxiety that one partner is dominant.


Who will lead the key areas of the merger?

Try to make sure this is based on skills and experience, rather than just seniority.

Further information

If you're an NCVO member, you can download a free copy of The Truth About Mergers, an in-depth, practical guide to the merger process, based on the real-life experiences of Carers Trust, which was created from a merger between The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care.

As well as looking in detail at leadership issues, the guide also asks the following questions.

  • Should you merge?
  • How long will it take?
  • How will the process be run?
  • How will you involve staff, supporters and beneficiaries?
  • What external support will you use?How will you manage the change?

Download The Truth About Mergers.


Page last edited Apr 07, 2017 History

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