The nation may be enthralled with the clash between Brown, Cameron and Clegg, but for those in grocery there is a more interesting battle going on - who will replace Andy Bond as chief executive of Asda? Cue Adam Leyland, The Grocer's equivalent of Jon Snow.

"If there is a 2.5% swing to Andy Clarke he could just get enough votes to push Judith McKenna into second place. But don't discount the outsiders a 10% swing against Clarke could give third party Jack Sinclair the chance of winning a seat at the table."

Asda has said it will consider external candidates but the smart money is on an internal appointment. Either way, a change in executive leadership is a challenging time and experience shows that all too often companies are not prepared.

Back in 2005 a study for Investors in People by the Centre for Economics and Business Research found that poor CEO succession planning wiped £2bn a year from the stockmarket value of FTSE350 companies. Where a company had a clear succession plan its performance was 7% better on the markets a week after the change than those that delayed appointing a replacement.

According to executive search company Odgers Berndtson, succession planning could be one of the major business issues this decade, given organisations have a shrinking pool from which to draw thanks to demographic trends. Brent Cameron, partner at the firm, says: "Study after study shows CEOs and boards are not spending the necessary time or effort on succession planning."

Stephen Miles, head of leadership advisory services at Heidrick & Struggles, agrees: "Business has been talking the talk about succession planning for the past 10 years, but this new decade will be about walking the walk."

The question is whether that walk should take them outside their company to pastures new, à la Morrisons and M&S with their recent appointments of Loblaw's Dalton Philips and Morrisons' Marc Bolland respectively. While there is no doubt outsider Bolland did well during his tenure at Morrisons, evidence favours the insider.

A ranking of the world's best-performing CEOs by graduate business school INSEAD finds those who have risen through the ranks tend to perform better than outsiders. On average, insiders ranked 57 places higher than outsiders. All four Brits in the top 20 are insiders, including Tesco's Sir Terry Leahy and Imperial Tobacco's Gareth Davis.

Harvard professor of business administration Joseph Bower says this is because outsiders lack in-depth knowledge of the company. Both Clarke and McKenna have notched up 15 years at Asda.

Pass the swingometer, Adam.