How does your organization prepare/handle a CIO departure? Or for any key IT member. What procedures or advice do you have in place proactively? Specifically to manage an abrupt decision.

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CTO in Healthcare and Biotech, 11 - 50 employees
We create a handover that it’s constantly being updated. It is part of the job description. And it is not aimed for someone to be fired. Instead as a knowledge tool to be used as needed.
CDO in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
If this is something you are currently planning or expecting to happen soon, then the first thing you need to do is make a list of all the access they have.  Ie. administrator control for key systems, contact point for key contracts/vendors, etc..  Then you need a plan in place for cutting that all off as soon as you've notified the person that they are being let go, or have it done during the meeting when you are notifying them.   You also need to have a clear communication in place letting people know the person is leaving and who is picking up their responsibilities/projects in the short-term.  Even if you don't have complete answers, the important thing is to convey that this wasn't an ad-hoc decision but something that you are prepared for and that business for the company will flow normally.  Then as soon as possible after you've notified the person, have a meeting with their direct reports to reassure them and let them get their questions out.  I wouldn't answer questions about why you are letting them go as there can be legal issues involved in that, but you want to reassure the direct reports as they are the ones you are counting on to step up and fill the gap until you can get a replacement.

For longer term issues, it's important to have succession planning in place.   You need to regularly meet with your key execs and see how well they are preparing the people under them to step into their roles eventually.   Even if they aren't ready for the role immediately when you get to the point of having to abruptly let someone go, they'll still be able to keep the ship running smoothly until you hire somebody to fill the role.
Director in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
We document strategies, fiscal and strategic plans.  We also keep extensive meeting notes (those who have good discipline to do so)
Then if an "urgent" transition is required those plans, PowerPoints, and meeting notes are available to help the new leader come up to speed as quickly as possible.  We also hold orientations but those were face to face in the past... might be a bit more challenging to have frank discussions and sensitive disclosures over SKYPE/TEAMS.   A great leader would still be able to build relationships over SKYPE
Assistant Director IT Auditor in Education, 10,001+ employees
Make sure a succession plan is in place, i.e., competent deputy CIO and direct reports are capable. The direct reports should get exposure to the organization and contiguous development training.

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