by Adriane B. Miller
Small, closely-held companies must confront this thorny issue.
John R. Beever doesn’t know how his business would function if he fell out of an airplane today–but he’s prodding his family and key managers to discuss it.
Mr. Beever, 59, runs family-owned John Dittmar & Sons, Inc., a Baltimore custom woodwork manufacturer that his great-grandfather started in 1876.
But discussing the future raises difficult questions. Mr. Beever’s two sons, Geoffrey and John C. are in their 30s and vice presidents of the firm. Both are enthusiastic about the business, both are bright. Both want to succeed their father. More…
Building A Brain Trust
Out Of A Board
by Paul Kelliher
Market Managing Partner
Every corporation has a board of directors, but not every board functions in the same manner. Board members of large publicly held companies are elected by the shareholders and are charged with representing their interests and overseeing management. In small privately held firms, the board is hand-picked by the sole stockholder (the business owner) usually from among management or family members, and it normally convenes only to transact regally required tasks, such as the annual meeting or the opening of a new company bank account.
Few entrepreneurs have attempted to broaden the business talents and scope of activities of their boards. They tend to be extremely self-reliant and hesitate to go outside when it comes to seeking advice. Indeed, this may not be necessary in the formative stages of a business. More…