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…

Unique Benefits and Some Tricky Challenges

Unique Benefits and Some Tricky Challenges

By Linda Swerling

Principal of Level II Solutions

 

Women are not only starting their own companies at record pace, they are also becoming increasingly involved at the senior management level in their own family company. While the individual dynamics of each situation is unique based on the people and industry involved, women who hold leadership roles can increase their effectiveness and protect their relationships by understanding why and how family businesses are different. The first, most important and permanent element is that key people are related to one another. Unless family members understand and are committed to preserving these relationships, the business can destroy them. Yet the business also has to function profitably. Women often use their experience in juggling activities, negotiating peaceful settlements among siblings and acknowledging different needs to help resolve conflict. More…