Succession

Succession is about so much more than "who gets what". 

It is about managing an orderly transition of both ownership and decision-making from one generation to the next.  That might involve the ownership and management of the family business or investments or simply the financial, health and welfare affairs of the elder generation.

I act as neutral facilitator to help all involved to identify and address their real concerns and to make fully-informed decisions at the end of what can be difficult and highly emotional conversations.

Case Study

Robert said he wanted to divide his estate (75% of which comprised the business he had founded) equally between his sons, Charles and Edward. They each insisted that they wanted the business in its entirety. They had been estranged from each other for some years, and neither would work with the other.

Charles had once worked in the business but could not work with his father and left to do other things. Edward was managing director, but was very much a manager, not a "rain maker".

Talking to each of them separately (and confidentially), it became clear that Charles didn't want the business at all. He had been brought up to compete with his brother for everything, and felt his father would view him as a failure if he didn't "put up a good fight".  However, he really was not prepared either to work with his brother, or to be a passive investor in business run by him.

Edward did want the business, but he was conscious that it would not be viable - or at least would not provide him with a reasonable living - if he had to borrow commercially to buy Charles out.

Talking confidentially, and at length, with Robert, it emerged that his real concern was the welfare of his third son, Arthur. He had made a fortune in the City before having a breakdown. He was financially secure, but easy prey for "conmen and gold diggers".  Robert was terrified that the two elder boys' relationship was so dysfunctional that they would not look out for Arthur when Robert was gone, and had thought that "making them work together in the business" was a solution.

After coaching each of them, they were able to meet and, with some help, get all these issues on the table. They agreed to work together to prepare the company for sale during father's lifetime, which was done. Charles and Edward together started to take over from Robert the role of caring for Arthur; and, over time, they began to rebuild their own relationship.