When life events precipitate the succession & transition process
The Grossmans are a fourth generation business family who operate Grossman Marketing Group based in Massachusetts, USA. Listen as they describe how the father's decision to take public office precipitated the two sons' leadership roles in the family business.
Content TypeFamily Business Interviews
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My father always said, “Steve, leave when they want a little more of you, and not a little less.” You think about the great baseball players who left at the top of their game, great athletes, great political leaders. Very few people know when to leave. We have three boys. David and Ben, the two oldest, are co-presidents and co-CEOs of the company. I always had in mind putting together a succession plan, was not 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, “Fellas, this is an opportunity, I think, for you to take a lead. I cannot be President and CEO of the company and run full time as a state treasurer, cannot do that. I would not be doing right ... View More by you, and by the family business. I would like the two of you to become co-presidents. You have complimentary skills, you respect one another, you love one another.” The plan was always for each one of them have an equal share of the business so there would be no resentment.
When he decided to run for treasurer, he had the safety net of knowing that the two of us were already in the business. But, you know, that sort of forced our hand a little bit and made us focus on succession planning a little bit more aggressively. We have had the benefit of multiple generations of transition, and we knew that we were not going to be able to, you know, as the business has gotten larger, more valuable, etcetera, we knew that we were not going to be able to approach it in the same way as they did two generations ago where my great-grandfather came in and said, “Hey boys, here are the keys.” So we knew there was going to have to be some planning. We have been working for about the last eight years with our attorneys to figure out an appropriate way of transitioning the company leaving us in a position where, you know, a major change would not precipitate a financial disaster for the company.
My brother and I are running this business, and we are running this business for the foreseeable future. In terms of a succession plan beyond that, I think it depends on, you know, as our kids get older. I have a daughter now, and my brother has two sons and a daughter and, you know, hopefully we can build this organization and grow, and provide a great platform so that if and when they are interested in joining the business, when we are entering our 125th year in business, hopefully, you know, God willing, we would love it.
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