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…