17 March 2016
This month I was delighted to be invited to be part of a session at the FBU ‘Great British Family Business 2016’ conference in London, where I had the opportunity to share my experience of family business succession alongside Clare Stirzaker of PwC and Jane Knapp of Phillips Brothers, suppliers of animal bedding to Poultry, Equestrian & Agricultural markets.
Jane spoke candidly about her experience of juggling many hats as a fourth generation Director of Phillips Brothers, but also as a mother, niece, cousin and daughter. We explored the challenge of raising succession with the previous generation and how she left the roles of daughter and niece at the door when she had to discuss succession as a Company Director with her father and uncle. We discussed the importance of talking business not family and fact not emotion, in order to reach an agreement that suited both generations and enabled them to keep the family and the business intact.
Jane also shared her experiences of bringing her son and his cousins into the business and the importance of preparing, educating and nurturing the fifth generation, for example through holiday jobs in the business. We explored different ways next generation engagement could be achieved and it was great to have so much participation and sharing from the audience.