Great article in The Times about the role of Chief Executive in a family firm when you are not family and things to think about before stepping in to the role.
Interesting insight from Beaverbrooks, the third generation jewellery business that has done just that, appointing Anna Blackburn as their first non-family CEO back in 2013.
As a strategy, if there are no next generation family members ready or available to lead the family firm and there is no desire to sell, bringing in a non-family CEO can certainly be positive. There are bound to be some challenges and it is important that anyone stepping in to run a family firm is aware of some of the challenges, the culture of the family firm, their raison d'etre, their priorities and values that determine the very essence of the family business too.
There is a lot to think about for both sides as the family need to let the CEO do the job they have been brought in to do, there needs to be clear understanding between all parties and there needs to be regular communication too.
Recruitment of the right individual for each family firm going down this route requires careful thought, recognition of the culture of the organisation and a clear agenda for them to address but getting it right can be the key to helping the family firm flourish and continue to further their journey too.
Mark Adlestone’s words must sound like music to the ears of Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist who has warned that nepotism is killing productivity in Britain’s family businesses: “Why should a family be able to create competent chief executives? You’ve got a much greater choice of quality people if you broaden the net and don’t just look at family.”