November/December 2017

In this issue

  • How to develop a diverse board and select the right chairman


    Our natural tendency is to surround ourselves with people whose backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints are similar to ours. But in order to achieve the true power of a board of directors, you must take a different approach when considering director candidates.

    Planning a family education program: Consider goals, logistics and content

    If you hope to maintain business ownership and wealth across multiple generations of your family, you’d be wise to develop a strong family education program. While there is no “one-size-fits-all” template for a family to follow in designing and launching an educational program, there are common content and logistical decisions families need to work through. The following topics are a good starting point for addressing your family’s particular needs.

    Protecting your family enterprise from the scourge of 'transition shock'

    CNBC analyst Jim Cramer raised some eyebrows recently when he stated on his show, Mad Money, that Walmart was going toe-to-toe with Amazon; Walmart isn’t generally seen as a rising powerhouse in e-commerce. But this comment by Cramer about Walmart CEO Doug McMillon drew even more of my attention: “As long as he’s got the backing of the family, he can afford to take some short-term hits in order to grow the company’s e-commerce presence. That’s a real rarity in this game.”

    Dueling Perspectives: The advantages of an independent board


    The board of directors of Samaritan Medical Center was honored as “Private Company Board of the Year” in its revenue category (less than $100 million) at the 2017 Private Company Governance Summit. Samaritan’s board was cited for its adoption of many public company best practices.

    Moving into the future


    Stevens Brothers Cartage and Storage was founded in 1905 in Saginaw, Mich., to haul steamer trunks using horse-drawn drays. Today The Stevens Group, still based in Saginaw, is a full-service moving company run by the fourth and fifth generations. Its longevity is a testament to the Stevens family’s focus on education and governance—and ongoing succession planning.

  • Theme park puts Santa in spotlight


    At Santa’s Village in Jefferson, N.H., heart takes precedence over facial hair.

  • Traditions reunite family, business

    I have heard from several clients that they never really get a chance to talk with their father, but they do get to talk with the owner of the company (who happens to be their father) every day. Another client told me that although he knew the volume of stocks that his brother traded, he only recently learned that his brother had had a cancer scare.

  • Celebration Corner: The Verdin Company's 175th anniversary


    The Business: The Verdin family came to the United States from the Alsace region of France around 1830 and settled in Cincinnati. Two of the seven siblings, Francis de Sales Verdin and Michael Verdin, were skilled in iron forging and clock making and began producing and repairing tower clocks. They installed their first tower clock, at Old St. Mary’s Church in Cincinnati, in 1842. The Verdins soon expanded into repairing bell-ringing equipment and then began manufacturing the equipment.

  • At the Helm: Dan Mahar

    By Patricia Olsen

    Generation of family ownership: Third.

    About the company: We have more than 150 land, river and sea [travel] programs across 70 countries, on all seven continents.

    Number of employees: 600.

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