Family Firms Lax on Succession, Management


In its first global survey of family-owned businesses, PricewaterhouseCoopers found almost half of family firms lack a succession plan; when it comes to companies founded in the last 20 years, the number jumps to 60%. Among businesses that had drawn up a plan, only 48% had chosen a successor.

Of the one-quarter of family businesses projected to change hands over the next five years, 51% were expected to remain in the family. But according to the survey data, this transition may not be so easy.

Other findings included:

Fewer than 30% of family businesses had adopted conflict-resolution procedures.

Two-thirds had no defined criteria for deciding which family members should be allowed to take active roles in the company.

Almost three-quarters said hiring and training good, new employees was their first priority.

For the survey, PwC interviewed almost 1,500 small and medium-sized family businesses (defined as companies where family members comprise the majority of the senior management team, hold at least 51% of the shares and where owners have day-to-day management responsibilities) from 28 countries.

Source: Making a Difference: The PricewaterhouseCoopers Family Business Survey 2007/08 , www.pwc.com .

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