Leadership Succession Planning in a Family Business - Susan Schoenfeld

The Opal Group conducted their Family Office and Private Wealth Management Forum, Opal’s largest & most renowned family office event in the industry. There were a number of speakers, one of them being Susan Schoenfeld, public speaker & thought partner to families of wealth and their advisors.
Susan is the founder of Wealth Legacy Advisors LLC. She is an award-winning thought leader, and public speaker to the financial services industry. She is an expert on the human issues that keep families of wealth up at night.

During her talk at the event, Susan spoke about leadership succession planning in a family business.

Leadership succession planning comes in three stages:

  1. Selecting the Successor

You select someone who has ability, affinity, and interest. They are willing to do it, they can do it, and they want to do it. This could be a member of the family, an in-law / “out-law,” or a trusted long-time advisor.

2. Grooming the Successor

Timing matters very much here. You do not begin this process the day before the patriarch or matriarch retires, you do it over a period of years so they can learn at ‘the knee of the master.’ The right grooming is critical, and it’s never too early to start.

3. Communicating the Succession Plan to all Stakeholders

This is often one of the most important steps. By stakeholders I don’t mean just those family members who are active in the business, but also passive shareholders who have financial stake in the business and the employees so that they understand the rules of the road. There needs to be a clear delineated line in the sand when the torch gets passed from elder to younger.”

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