Takeaway: Alan Spoon from The Washington Post – Non Family CEO’s

Alan Spoon, the former President of The Washington Post, spoke at a recent Center meeting and shared some of his experience as a non-family executive in a family held business.

On non-family CEO’s:

A non-family manager during the recruiting process will be especially interested in the growth plans for the business.

They will take into consideration:

  • The ambition of the family
  • The Strategic Plan for the business
  • The family management genuine commitment to growing the business
  • Important that “family is 110% committed”

He said one of the worst things a family can do is to say “let’s grow, but they don’t really mean it”

The Washington Post – Sale of a Family Business Newspaper

The recent announcement that the Washington Post newspaper was being sold to Jeff Bezos from Amazon.com, brought back memories of a speaker presentation that Alan Spoon, former president of The Washington Post gave at one of our Center’s meetings. Several years ago we had the opportunity to have Alan Spoon, meet with our Center members at the Northeastern University Center for Family Business, where he discussed the close working relationship he had with the Graham family. Some of the issues he discussed included; non-family executives, educating investors, creation of value and the benefits of longer term vision vs. short-term profits.

Following is a summary of Alan Spoon’s remarks when he was president of the Washington Post.

The Story of The Washington Post: Perspectives from the President

For ten years, Alan Spoon was President of The Washington Post, serving with the famed mother-son team of Katherine and Donald Graham. At this breakfast meeting, Center members learned how Alan managed his role as a non-family member leader of this exceedingly high profile family owned and managed enterprise. More…