Listen to Philippe de Gaspe Beaubien II and Steve Grossman describe their experiences transitioning the leadership roles to the next generation. In a family business, it is important for the founder, who is often resistant to the idea of taking a step back, to think about passing the business to the next generation. Creating a clear succession plan early on, will ease the transition of the business and will reduce the possibility of resentment within the family business.
Philippe de Gaspe Beaubien II
The big issues that we have in family business is that people like me who start the business are entrepreneurs, they’re type A’s, they’re accustomed to controlling their own destinies, and the purpose of life is learning how to let go a little bit. And that’s not easy for someone who has the power. You’ve got to retire to something, where you can do something else. And there are great joys in letting to too. There are great joys in letting your children take on and do things differently from you. Sometimes you’d die a thousand deaths, but you know, they’re true to their own values.
David and Ben, the two oldest, are co-presidents and co-CEO’s of the company. I saw them growing in stature and in professionalism, and I was still playing a significant role. I always had in mind putting together a succession, plan, wasn’t entirely sure what it was going to look like. And then the economy fell apart, and I decided to run for state treasurer, in 2009. And I went to them and I said ‘fella’s, this is an opportunity for you I think, to take a lead. I can’t be president and CEO of the company and run full-time as a state treasurer. Can’t do that. I wouldn’t be doing right by you, and by the family business. So I think that I would like to become chairman of the board, and I’d like the two of you to become co-presidents. You have complementary skills, you respect one another, you love one another, the plan was always for each one of them to have an equal share of the business so there’d be no resentment.