How an Effective Succession Plan Can Mean More Freedom and Control

 How an Effective Succession Plan Can Mean Northeastern University
More Freedom and Control

Family Business Quarterly
by Joseph F. Blum, CLU

Owners can be divided into one or another of two distinct groups as regards succession planning. One group absolutely refuses to recognize the need for succession planning. It just doesn’t see the need, period. When the attorney representing the DeBartolo family, one of the country’s most prominent developers of shopping malls, was interviewed for a Wall Street Journal article and was asked about his client’s attitude toward succession planning, the attorney was quoted as saying, “We introduced the topic of succession planning at a recent meeting and quickly learned that it was a subject never to be mentioned again.” Mr. DeBartolo was 78 years old at the time.

The second group, in sharp contrast, is attuned to the need for planning. Typical of this group is the chicken magnate Frank Purdue, who understood the value of advanced preparedness. In company TV ads, the elder Purdue refers to his son, who viewers soon learn has assumed control of the company, as “a project in the making for many years.”Purdue Senior obviously takes pride in having handed off the baton of his business to his son in a highly public way, based on having worked out a competent succession plan at an early stage. More…

Family Focus: Autotec Succeeds In Several Transitions

Family Focus:
Autotec Succeeds In Several Transitions

by Debbe Skutch

Sometimes one transition is not enough.Autotec has recently been through several.With succession to the next generation came changes in culture, focus of the company, family dynamics, family location, and management style.As founder, John Schuster has sold his company to his son-in-law, Thomas Ballay.The company, the family, and the changes they have made to successfullyenhance each other tell an inspiring story.

In 1971, John had a vision, much courage and just a little luck. He left his position with an engineering firm to act on his entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to design his own machines.He had only his mechanical engineering degree, two drawing boards, a partner, and no capital to speak of. The company now manufactures machinery, mainly in the packaging industry, for customers all over the country. More…