Family Business Magazine Blog

A recent article in The Practitioner -- an online publication of the Family Firm Institute, an organization for professionals who advise and study family enterprises -- pointed out the difference between "firm survival over time" (continuity of a family business through the years) and "longevity of a family enterprise" (a family's ability to create wealth and value over generations).

The Practitioner article -- by Pramodita Sharma, the Sanders Professor for Family Business at the University of Vermont's School of Business Administration and a visiting scholar at Babson College -- argued that family enterprise success can be defined in ways other than leadership transfer from one generation to the next. "Both the creative destruction of firms and pruning of the enterprising family are integral parts of longevity of an enterprising family ....," Sharma wrote. "Recent reviews of the research on succession, governance, professionalization and performance all point in the same direction -- that one size does not fit all and the overarching numbers of ‘success' are insufficient to capture the complexity and heterogeneity of family enterprises and their pathways to success."

Family Business Magazine's cover subjects for May/June 2014, the Power family, sold J.D. Power and Associates to McGraw-Hill in 2005....Read more

Free Feature Article

The Collat family bolstered family and business structures as their electric supply business, Mayer, transitioned to G3. They now have formed a family office and are preparing for G4. 

In the late 1980s, Charles A. Collat Sr. asked his four children if they knew what it meant to run a family business.
“Being young and naive, we said, ‘Absolutely, we know what it means to run a family business and to be effective owners,’ ” recalls Charlie Collat, 53, his son.

The children didn’t really know — but they wanted to learn. So the family engaged a family business consultant to help Charlie and his three sisters learn to become good owners of Mayer Electric Supply Company.

“Of the many things that we have learned over the years, one of the most important lessons was and is how to communicate with each other,” says Charlie, who today is president of Bay Pine Holdings (the family office) and executive vice president of Mayer. “My mother’s mantra was that she didn’t want the family business to break up Thanksgiving dinner.”

At the time, Charles, now 88, was chairman, CEO and president of Mayer, which has grown to be one of the nation’s largest wholesale distributors of elec

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Feature Video


Todd Immell, Principal, Ernst & Young LLP discusses robotics processing automation operating models for family offices. Final installment in a 4-part series.