How One Leader Planned a Gradual Exit
Greg Maciag, the former CEO of the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development isn't leaving the organization slowly.
By the time Greg Maciag announced his coming retirement from the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development in 2014, he was the embodiment of institutional memory. He’d spent 40 years with ACORD, more than 20 as president and CEO.
His successor, Bill Pieroni, took the helm in March, but Maciag is sticking around for a 12-month advisory position. Pieroni acknowledges the idea of a lingering past executive “flies in the face of what most CEOs would think,” but he says being able to consult with Maciag has been invaluable. “I cherish the fact that I can rely upon him as a thought partner,” he says. “I bother him endlessly. He gets late-night calls 10 or 11 at night—I’m waking him up.”
Not every new executive is eager to have a predecessor nearby, but Nancy Green, FASAE, CAE, interim executive director at the American Industrial Hygiene Association, says such arrangements work best within well-defined parameters. If board or staff get mixed signals about who to turn to for decisions—or even if they go to the previous CEO merely out of habit—Green says “there’s a shadow hanging over one of the most important times in a new CEO’s tenure.”
ACORD structured Maciag’s role accordingly, but four decades of knowledge was worth keeping available in reserve. “I serve exclusively as an advisor to Bill. Although Bill provided me with office space, I work from home and come to the office for meetings when needed,” Maciag says. “But these are unusual circumstances that few associations experience.”
Greg Maciag, the former CEO of the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development. (Handout photo)