CEO succession in family businesses: Article aimed at corporate counsel misses role of BV appraisers

BVWireIssue #125-3
February 20, 2013

Tensions naturally underlie a corporate succession, says a new online article in Corporate Counsel ( Add the logistical and emotional dynamics of a family-controlled business, and succession planning can become a minefield for any board of directors or general counsel to navigate.

A sound selection process can mitigate CEO-succession risks, and general counsel can help advocate best practices, the article says, quoting a management consultant and attorney. Independent board members can represent the company’s interests and a family “council” can channel those of employee and nonemployee relations. But anyone involved with the family business must be “super careful” to maintain the appearance of objectivity, the article says.

Too bad it didn’t ask a BV appraiser. Who ultimately is in the best position to help a family business maximize value and reduce risk through a sale, management buyout, or family succession? “Our job is to help business owners to understand the trade-offs of each,” said Ron Seigneur (Seigneur Gustafson), as recently quoted in a BVWire article. Succession planning is “a great opportunity and a great supplement to litigation work,” agrees James Anderson (Burr Pilger Mayer). But first BV appraisers must get the word out, and contacting their corporate counsel referrals—and the publications aimed at this critical referral base—might be a good place to revisit.

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