Siblings and Succession in the Family Business (HBR Case Study and Commentary)
How do family businesses handle succession? What happens when siblings compete for the position of CEO? Can nonfamily board members navigate successfully through conflicts among family members? Should they even try? This fictitious case study examines a host of issues with which family businesses regularly grapple. It describes the situation that faces the board of directors of Benson Electric, a rapidly growing family enterprise, upon the unexpected death of CEO and patriarch Buck Benson. Benson, the son of the company's founder, left no succession plan. Caught in the middle of an emotionally torn and feuding family, the directors must determine how to proceed. How can they manage the succession process without alienating family members and worrying employees and customers? In 98108 and 98108Z, four commentators--Joseph A. Wolking, Kent Noble, Kelin Gersick, and Victor Ney--advise the directors on their best course of action. This case study includes both the case and the commentary. For teaching purposes, the reprint is also available in two other versions: case study-only, reprint 98108X, and commentary-only, reprint 98108Z.