Kirby Corporation Announces Management Changes

Maritime hauler Kirby Corporation has announced some C-level changes for 2014. Prominent among these is the naming of David Grzebinski to the position of Chief Operating Officer and President of the company. The former Chief Financial Officer will retain that position until the company files its 2013 Form 10-K in February, at which point C. Andrew Smith will take over that role.Joseph Pyne will remain the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board during the beginning of 2014, a position he has held since 1995. Pyne has stated that these moves are part of a succession plan to place Grzebinski in a position to become the CEO when Pyne decides it’s time to step down.

A succession plan ensures the smooth continued operation in the wake of a management change, and many companies take succession into account well before the time comes. Advantages of good succession planning include:

  • Perpetuation of company values. Kirby’s succession plan ensures that Joseph Pyne gets to groom the right man for the job, instilling his own ideals in his successor in an attempt to sustain corporate values for the long haul. The strategy is far from bulletproof, but when executed properly it gives a company the image of strength and sustainability.
  • Seamless transition of power. Any good student of history knows that a power vacuum is a breeding ground for infighting, revolt, and revolution. While things aren’t quite so serious in the corporate world as in the world of royal succession, there are lessons to be extrapolated, and the basic takeaway is the same – a smooth transition of power is the best way to keep the ship running full steam ahead. Kirby executives know this well.
  • Passing the torch to the right person. Pyne hand-selected David Grzebinski and has been promoting him on schedule to coincide with the end of his own tenure as CEO. Though he will remain on the board and help oversee company affairs for Kirby, he can rest easy knowing that his preferred candidate is manning the helm.

Does your company have a succession plan in place?