Succession Planning & Leadership Development


When I joined ESI in 2016, it was clear that we had a low trust culture and dysfunctional leadership team starting at the top of the organization and, lacking at the levels below. The company had been struggling financially for the last several years and while we did identify Key Talent within the organization, we did little to foster their development. When I decided to make changes and replace a number of Executives, there were no ready successors internally, as result we were forced to go outside for all of these positions. I vowed that the Company would commit to a higher standard of hiring and internal development of our employees.


I worked closely with our Vice President of Human Resources & Organizational Development to design a Management Development Meeting to help chart a path for success as we worked to create a new culture and define what fondly call Our Principles (Create Value, Listen, Learn & Adapt, Be Bold and, Own it!). Breaking down barriers and engaging the full leadership team was critical to our success. In addition we designed an 18 month program for the first pilot group of Hi Potential Leaders development program. The program required significant investment from the Company and commitment from the Executive Staff, the Board of Directors and Hi Potential Program participants. We targeted leadership development, mentor assignments, development plans and asked all to work on two, meaningful cross functional projects with participants from around the world. As we identified individuals to participate in this program, we gave thoughtful consideration to the diversity of the participants. The first program included 24% (50% minority women) and 30% who live and work outside the US. While we have embarked on a journey of inclusiveness, I think this program is foundational to our ability to attract, leverage and retain a diverse and high quality set of leaders ready to take the company to the next levels of success.


As I reflect on their leadership development and succession readiness, I am pleased to say that we have a much stronger set of Leaders in the company who are highly motivated, more engaged and working to create value for our customers, employees and stakeholders.

Diversity fosters innovation and creativity through a greater variety of problem-solving approaches, perspectives and ideas. A workplace that works for all employees enables them to bring the best of themselves every day to create value in keeping with Our Principles. We respect, value and celebrate the unique attributes, characteristics and perspectives that make each person who they are. We also believe that bringing diverse individuals together allows us to collectively and more effectively create value and achieve business success. 

Michael Burger, ESI President & CEO

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