Stephen A. Miles

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Stephen A. Miles
Born (1967-11-28) November 28, 1967 (age 49)
Nairobi, Kenya
Alma mater Queen's University (B.A., MBA)
University of Victoria (M.A. Psychology)
Occupation Author
CEO Coach
Specialist on Succession Planning, Board Effectiveness and Role of COO

Stephen A. Miles is an author and consultant to CEOs and corporate boards of directors. He is currently the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Miles Group, and is a director at CDK Global (NASDAQ: CDK; formerly ADP Dealer Services), where he serves as a member of the Compensation and Nominating & Governance Committees.[1] Previously, he was a Vice Chairman at Heidrick & Struggles where he ran Leadership Advisory Services and was a member of both the Global CEO and Board Practice, and the firm’s management committee.[2]


Miles was born in Nairobi and lived a somewhat “nomadic” childhood in places such as South Africa, Iraq, Argentina and Canada.[3] Driven by the study of human psychology, Miles received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (1991) from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and a Masters in Psychology from the University of Victoria (1994).

After working as a social worker counseling maximum-security inmates at the Kingston Penitentiary in Ontario, Miles turned his focus to management and leadership, receiving his Masters in Business Administration (1999) from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Upon receiving his MBA, Miles worked for about a year as a consultant at Anderson Consulting before he arrived at Heidrick & Struggles in 1999.[3] After arriving at Heidrick & Struggles as a research analyst, Miles moved on to become a vice chairman and run Leadership Advisory Services within the Leadership Consulting Practice, overseeing the firm’s worldwide executive assessment/succession planning activities.[4]


Miles' research centers on CEO succession and leadership. Using the 360 degree evaluation process, Miles has helped companies such as BHP Billiton, Nokia, Best Buy, and Adobe assess their internal leadership capacity and develop emerging leaders within each company.[3] Marshall Goldsmith, noted that Miles is “near the top, especially given his age, [and] probably has a broader knowledge base than [Goldsmith]."[3]

In November 2010, Business Week magazine published a feature article on Miles, calling him the “rising star of CEO consulting” and “the CEO whisperer” and highlighting the successful work he has done in the area of CEO and executive coaching. Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe Systems has described Miles as “wicked smart,” while Marius Kloppers, CEO of BHP Billiton, has described him as “fearless in a soft but determined sense.”[3]

Miles and Stanford University Graduate School of Business Professor David F. Larcker have collaborated on a Stanford Graduate School of Business case study on CEO succession planning, entitled “Multimillionaire Matchmaker.” In a 2010 research study,[5] they found that 51% of companies could not name a CEO successor today, if needed. Miles and Larcker continued this thread of research in 2011, to examine whether active CEOs make the best board members.[6] They found evidence to suggest that while active CEOs bring prestige to a board, they are often not the best choice because they are commonly too busy with their own businesses to be a fully effective director.

Miles’ 2006 book, Riding Shotgun: The Role of the Chief Operating Officer, was featured in the Harvard Business Review as one of the first in-depth studies of the COO’s role within a corporation and how the role can successfully intersect with that of the CEO.[7] He is a regular contributor to the Management Blog at Bloomberg Businessweek,[8] and is quoted regularly about succession planning and leadership issues in the press.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]



  1. ^ "CDK Global Board of Directors". CDK Global. Retrieved October 3, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Stephen Miles Bio". The Miles Group. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Brady, Diane (November 29, 2010), "The Rising Star of CEO Consulting", Business Week, retrieved 2010-12-20 
  4. ^ "Stephen A. Miles". Heidrick & Struggles. Retrieved December 20, 2010. 
  5. ^ "2010 Survey On CEO Succession Planning". Rock Center for Corporate Governance. June 29, 2010. Retrieved August 6, 2010. 
  6. ^ "2011 Corporate Board of Directors Survey". Rock Center for Corporate Governance. 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  7. ^ Bennett, Nathan & Miles, Stephen A. (2006). "Second in Command: The Misunderstood Role of the Chief Operating Officer". Harvard Business Review. 84 (5): 20–78. 
  8. ^ "BloombergBusinessweek - Articles by Stephen A. Miles and Nate Bennett". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  9. ^ Coster, Helen (July 15, 2010). "The State Of The CEO: Guardedly Optimistic". Forbes. Retrieved August 6, 2010. 
  10. ^ Lublin, Joann S. (April 6, 2010). "Healing the Scars of a Long Bout of Unemployment". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 6, 2010. 
  11. ^ Lublin, Joann S. (February 22, 2010). "Opening Up Succession Plans: At Frontier, Board Members Mentor, Forge Bonds With CEO's Lieutenants". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 6, 2010. 
  12. ^ Prokopeak, Mike (February 2010). "The Post-Recession Leader: Part CEO, CFO and COO". Chief Learning Officer Magazine. Archived from the original on May 7, 2010. Retrieved August 6, 2010. 
  13. ^ Stern, Gary M. (December 4, 2009). "When Two Honchos Are Better Than One". Investor's Business Daily. Retrieved August 6, 2010. 
  14. ^ Frasch, Kristen B. (November 18, 2009). "Onward and Upward". Human Resource Executive Online. Retrieved August 6, 2010. 
  15. ^ Hymowitz, Carol (November 26, 2007). "Too Many Companies Lack Succession Plans, Wasting Time, Talent". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 6, 2010. 
  16. ^ Jones, Daniel Christopher (Q3, 2010). "Is there an art to CEO sucesssion?". Business Management. Retrieved August 6, 2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

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