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  • Writer's pictureRobert Adelson

From Founder-CEO to CTO or CSO: Key Protections in Succession Planning when you face the Founder’s D

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

On March 27, 2019, CEOWorld magazine published an article I wrote on “From Founder-CEO to CTO or CSO:  Key Protections in Succession Planning When You Face the Founder’s Dilemma”

This article is designed for founder or co-founder  CEOs of successful companies in the innovation economy who may be asked and even pressured by VCs to let a “professional” CEO take your place at the helm to scale the company to the next level, with you to then step aside to fall back to take a CTO or CSO position in what had been your company.

This article discusses how and why this situation called the “Founder’s Dilemma” occurs, and then goes on to offer advice to the founder CEO who will transition to the CTO or CSO role.  My article suggests key Founder protections including:

My article also discusses protections for the founder CEO and the company in choice of your Board, choice of investors and the founder taking a big role in selection of your successor CEO and transition.

Or on my website at

With more than 12.4+ million-page views, CEOWORLD magazine is the world’s leading business magazine written strictly for CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, senior management executives, business leaders, and high net worth individuals worldwide.

It is my hope that this article will be helpful to Founder CEOs who have successfully launched their companies, taken in VC or angel investment and now face the Founder-CEO dilemma as investors push for a “professional CEO” to take your place at the helm as the successor CEO to lead the company in the scale up and to the  liquidity event the investors seek. If you or any colleague of yours has a need in this area, please do reach out to me at

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