Case Study 1 – Governance

Establishing a governance framework

The client was a second generation family owned business.

The business was originally founded by a sibling group and so the number of shareholders was already quite large, with each shareholder owning a very small percentage of shares.  The number of bloodline descendants even more numerous and growing.

The third generation were adults with careers of their own in other industries and they were beginning to have families of their own.  The members of the second generation that were on the board were approaching retirement age and had begun to consider how the family business would be owned and run following their retirement.

We helped a working group of family members to develop a family business governance framework that suited their business and family.   This involved the family establishing a Family Council and considering how the family council would function and what its remit would be.

We also helped the family to draft a Family Charter setting out how the council would operate, for example, how council members would be appointed, how meetings would be run and how the council would communicate with both the wider family and the board.  We facilitated the working group meeting and the very first council meeting, to help to get the family off on the right foot and to provide education and guidance where necessary.


Case Study 2 – Succession

Keeping all options on the table

We worked with a second generation retail client.  The aunt that contacted us had run a small retail business for her entire career and was approaching retirement.  The business had achieved a steady turnover and a good income for the family. However, the retail environment had changed significantly during this time and the business had not taken steps to adapt to the changing market.  A member of the third generation was working in the business and was expecting to take over on the retirement of his aunt.   The family were relatively close but struggled to talk honestly to one another about their thoughts and feelings.  Communication had reached an all-time low, particularly between aunt and nephew.

When the aunt contacted us she was concerned about the ability of her nephew to take over the business.  She also felt that the pool of next generation talent was such that it may be possible to appoint a suitable successor to take the business forward.

We carried out one to one discussions with each of the key family members, including some potential successors from the third generation.  The discussions prompted the nephew to consider his next steps and he came to the conclusion that running the business was not really what he wanted to do with his life and he wanted to pursue a completely different career and to move cities.

Ultimately the retail business closed on the retirement of the aunt.  The family had between them built a property portfolio which continued to be rented out and the retail premises were added to the portfolio.  The one to one discussions had enabled the family members to explore their own feelings in a safe environment and to take steps to build the lives they each wanted.  The nephew was able to amicably exit the business and was free to pursue his dream.

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