I am a manager with an "above the average" track record and have never heard a complaint in my reviews and 1:1s. I was given a best employee of the company award just last month (global company) and am also well-networked with senior management.
But last week my department head told me that in a few days one of his closer right hands will head my team and I should help him. When I asked if he had any feedback about me and my team's performance, he said everything was absolutely great and I should continue the great work. In further details I understood that most of my strategic responsibilities will be taken over by this person - effectively putting another layer of hierarchy between me and the upper echelons - and my own responsibilities will be less managerial.
As performance has not been an issue, I can only keep guessing what might be the reason, although common sense hints at company politics, even cronyism. I know for a fact that this successor is unpopular in my team and didn't even understand the function. However, I was aware for a while that he was being groomed to be part of our team.
In any case, I am unsure what to do next. I truly enjoy my job, the company, my responsibilities - but after all my sacrifices I never expected this to happen; heck, I was even sure to progress higher within a short time.
My future career goal is to be able to succeed in senior management so I need as much strategic experience as possible. If I stay in my relegated role, I might even find it harder to move to a similar role at another company. But starting from scratch at a new company would also mean a longer wait before I can progress higher.
So my main question is: how could I react to achieve the best outcome for my career progression?
Is this situation a reason to ponder a transition to a new company? What are the benefits of me staying?