Horse racing is an ancient sport with a long and distinguished history. It has been practiced in civilizations worldwide, including Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Babylon, Syria and Arabia. It also is an important part of myth and legend, such as the contest between the steeds of Odin and Hrungnir in Norse mythology.

A classic succession “horse race” pits several senior executives against each other in a competition to become the next chief executive officer, a strategy that many corporate boards and governance observers view with unease. A well-executed horse race can yield superior results, but the approach must be carefully considered by a company’s board and current CEO to ensure that it is compatible with the organization’s culture and organizational structure.

When a company adopts the horse race model, it signals that it values leadership development, and it provides a clear path for future leaders to build the skills and experience needed to succeed as a company leader. The system can also help a company identify the right executive for the job when the time comes, allowing it to select an experienced leader rather than a green one.

In addition, the horse race model is an effective way to reduce risk by allowing the company to make a decision about its next CEO without having to engage in expensive and divisive headhunting. The process can also help a company develop an effective system of performance review that is aligned with the executive’s competencies and needs.

The horse race model is widely used by prestigious companies to produce exceptional leadership talent. In fact, it is so effective that it has become the dominant mode of CEO selection in a number of industries, including finance, health care and technology. The horse race model is often associated with the rise of superstar CEOs at such giants as General Electric, Procter & Gamble and GlaxoSmithKline.

Despite these benefits, the horse race model has some significant drawbacks. First, it has the potential to create tension between the current CEO and board of directors by pitting them against each other in an overt competition. This competition can also lead to a culture of fear in the workplace, which is not conducive to innovation and creativity.

Furthermore, the horse race model can result in a lack of communication and collaboration among senior executives, which can undermine a company’s ability to execute its strategy. It can also cause a loss of productivity and innovation due to inefficient meetings and an overreliance on informal communications methods.

The most troubling issue for animal rights advocates is the cruelty that is inherent in the racing industry. According to PETA, horses are pushed beyond their limits and often do not recover from injuries or breakdowns. They are drugged, whipped, and forced to train and race too early, when their skeletal systems are still growing. Moreover, they are often subjected to cocktails of legal and illegal drugs that mask injuries and artificially enhance performance. As a result, countless American thoroughbreds die every year in races or end up in foreign slaughterhouses.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Horse Race Model of Executive Selection