Women Reach the Top at more Family Firms

Women Reach the Top at more Family Firms

by Edward Taylor
Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal

This article is reprinted by permission from StartupJournal.com.

As chief executive of Swedish forklift truck manufacturer Atlet AB, Marianne Nilson is one of a growing number of women who hold key positions in their family firms.

“The dynastic model of succession, where the business is passed on to the eldest son, seems to be fading,” says Jozef Lievens, a partner at Belgian law firm Ebilius Lawyers, and founder of the Belgian Family Institute, a nonprofit organization that provides training and education for family businesses. “We see a growing tendency for daughters to take over the firm — or even entire teams of siblings.”

A 1997 survey of 3,000 family firms conducted by Mass Mutual in the U.S. showed that the number of female chief executives was set to rise, with 25% of respondents saying their next CEO would be a woman. A similar trend is evident in Europe, Mr. Lievens says. More…

Professionalizing the Family Business

Professionalizing the Family Business

Family Ink

With a pragmatic approach and just the right dose of humor–much of which can be found in his book, “Someday It’ll All be…Who’s?”–Dr. Donald J. Jonovic, discussed “Professionalizing” the family business. His comments, before the Family Business Forum members at the George Rothman Institute on October 26th, touched on the benefits of an outside advisory board, getting the best from your professional advisors, and employing an open organization policy.He also challenged some old myths and talked about the rights and relationship of in-laws in a family-owned enterprise.

Owners of closely held companies, he said, tend to focus on the short term…dealing with immediate problems/challenges and rewards.But this, he added, is definitely not the way to insure growth and build shareholder value over the long term, whether you pass the business on to the next generation or end up selling it. More…