Schools
Kellogg School of Management

Biography

Kellogg School of Management
Clinical Professor of Family Enterprise, Co-Director of the Center for Family Enterprises

Ward teaches and studies succession, ownership, governance, and philanthropy of family enterprises.

 He is co-author of several leading books on family business including Family Business as Paradox; Keeping the Family Business Healthy; Perpetuating the Family Business: 50 Lessons Learned from Long-Lasting Successful Families in Business; Building A Successful Family Business Board: A Guide for Leaders, Directors and Families; When Family Businesses are Best: The Parallel Planning Process for Family Harmony and Business Success; Strategic Planning for the Family Business; Family Business: Key Issues, Creating Effective Boards for Private Enterprises and Unconventional Wisdom: Counterintuitive Insights for Family Business Success.  Ward is also co-author of Why Others? Philanthropy and Opportunity and Why Me? Creating, Receiving and Passing On Wealth.  He also co-authored a collection of 17 booklets "The Family Business Leadership Series" with each booklet focusing on a specific issue family businesses face (see palgrave.com or thefbcg.com).

 Ward graduated from Northwestern University (B.A.) and Stanford Graduate School of Business (M.B.A. and Ph.D). Currently he serves on the boards of two companies and three non-profit organizations.

Areas of Expertise Family Business

Education PhD, 1973, Stanford University

MBA, 1969, Stanford University

BA, 1967, Northwestern University

Honors and Awards Judge of FBN Global Family Business of the Year, Family Business Network

Judge of FBN Global Family Business of the Year, Family Business Network

Judge of International Family Business Case Competition, University of Vermont

Certificate of Impact Teaching Award, Kellogg School of Management, Winter Class 2014

Certificate of Impact Teaching Award, Kellogg School of Management, Winter Class 2010

Editorial Positions Applied Research Board, Family Business Review, 2016-2017

Wrote the Precis for Family Business Review, Family Business Review, 2016-2017

Applied Research Board, Family Business Review, 2014-2017

Editorial Board, Family Business Review, 2006-2012

Education Honors and Awards Editorial Positions

Read about executive education

Cases

Ward, John L.. 2004. Perpetuating the Family Business: 50 Lessons Learned from Long-Lasting, Successful Families in Business. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

This book brings together a vast amount of experience to show the "best practices" of the most successful and long-lasting families in business. It provides a framework of five insights and four principles in which to position 50 lessons for family businesses. This is the most comprehensive book on sustaining the family business and contains international examples and cases and essential tools and checklists of best practice. Languages: Serbian

Carlock, Randel S and John L. Ward. 2001. Strategic Planning for the Family Business: Parallel Planning To Unify the Family and Business. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

From small start-ups to giant multinationals, from the Mom-and-Pop-owned barbershop to Ford Motor Company, family owned businesses continue to dominate the world economy. Regardless of size, running a successful family firm presents unique challenges, and many fail to survive the transition from one generation to the next. Here is a practical, comprehensive guide to ensuring success through effective strategic planning. The authors provide a wealth of tested, easy-to-follow tools and techniques for mastering strategic planning for family-owned firms. Filled with real world examples, case studies, checklists and planning worksheets, the book shows how to deal with a host of emerging challenges –from new technologies to global markets– by integrating family values and dynamics into sound planning and management.

Ward, John L., Thierry Lombard and Matthieu Ricard. 2008. Why Others? Philanthropy as Opportunity.

Why Others?  summarizes the many questions which individuals and families need to ask themselves when turning to philanthropy.  Why should I give?  To whom? What for? How much?  Alone or with my family?  Each case is different of course, but there are principles which are valid for any giving.  The art of giving, consists both in meeting the needs of the beneficiaries and in fulfilling the expectations of the donors who are giving their time or money.  Why Others?  is written to help you to discover philanthropy for what it is: a means to shape a better future by acting in the present.

Ward, John L. and Colleen Lief. 2006. Lee Kum Kee Co. Ltd (A): The Family Recipe. Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

This two-part case series starts with the accidental discovery of an important condiment in Chinese cuisine in 1888. The company, Lee Kum Kee Ltd., was born as a result and over the intervening years grew into a large global enterprise. Case A describes the development of the firm and family from the 1st through 4th generations. Development of a values-based corporate culture, facilitation of entrepreneurship and the ramifications of family/business crises are highlighted.

Miller, Warren D., Gerry Boschowitz, Rudy Boschowitz, Joe Mattos, Mary Whiteside and John L. Ward. 2000. The Ghost in the Family Business. Case Study Commentary: Harvard Business Review R00315.

For teaching purposes, this is the commentary-only version of the HBR case study. The case-only version is reprint R00314. The complete case study and commentary is reprint R00308. Mac Monroe had grand plans for Georgia Building Supplies, the company he had started with a friend almost 50 years ago, selling construction materials wholesale to contractors. In the mid-1980s, Mac bought out his disgruntled partner's share of the company and put his oldest son, Mac Monroe IV, at the helm. It was all falling into place. But Mac Four, as his parents called him, died tragically in a car accident. The family and the company never recovered. Mac sold GBS two years later. Now Mac is trying it again, bankrolling Carolina Construction Supply with his youngest boy, John "Little Bit" Monroe, at the helm. The tech-savvy Little Bit would like Mac and CCS to embrace the Internet for on-line transactions and service. But Mac keeps emphasizing sales, and he's lured two heavy-hitter salesmen from the competition--including his middle son, Mike Monroe. In its first two years, CCS has lost $1 million, and the ghost of Mac Four lingers at the company--Mac is constantly invoking his name, alluding to what Mac Four would have done if he were still alive. Complicating matters is the Monroe family's overprotective matriarch, Bea, who doesn't want to hear anything bad about her boys, and who'd like more time to spend with her 70-something husband. Mac's got plenty of doubts about CCS's future--that's why he's called on P. Dee Chambers, a consultant to small businesses, for advice. What should she tell him? Can Carolina Construction Supply be saved? In R00308 and R00315, five commentators, Gerry Boschwitz, Rudy Boschwitz, Mary F. Whiteside, Joe Mattos, and John L. Ward, review this fictional account and offer their advice.

Ward, John L., Joachim Schwass and Colleen Lief. 2005. Clinton Devon Estates: Since 1299, A Culture of Distinction (C). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

This three part case series explores the strategic and cultural implications of recognizing a major reconsideration of a multitude of long-held beliefs may be needed to ensure a firm’s survival. The business lines and corporate culture that had served this landed estate so well and for so long had been challenged by radical changes in the operating environment, industry and ownership assumptions. The company needs to look deep inside itself and clarify its purpose and core values. The A case presents the background and colorful history of this unique business, from 1299 to the year 2000, and lays out the challenges and options under consideration by the trustees, family owners and management. Much was at stake for Clinton Devon. To sell the estate lock, stock and barrel, spending the future counting newly-liquid wealth, was not an option congruent with the family’s heritage and philosophy. However, to do nothing meant the estate’s near-certain demise. Case B reveals the innovative and unexpected steps actually undertaken by this organization and the results that followed. The C case brings the story up-to-date with an assessment of the Estate’s strategic initiatives and results. New plans for the enterprise are reviewed. Learning objectives: 1) Making decisions between two desirable alternatives may not be necessary. There may be a third way to accomplish both. 2) Reinforcing the notion that frequent, authentic communication with constituents, focused on long-term relationship building, is essential. 3) Engaging the workforce can uncover existing potential. 4) Hiring an outsider with fresh views and who shares the family’s values may bring the talents of a change agent to bear on the situation. 5) Understanding that a firm’s traditional industry and its culture and purpose can be de-linked without harm to the enterprise.

Ward, John L. and Sachin Waikar. 2011. India's Mewar Dynasty: Upholding 76 Generations of Service and Custodianship (A) (B) (C). Indian School of Business/IVEY Publishing.

There are not many families in the world that can claim continuity of existence for over 76 generations in either business or otherwise. Families that manage such a feat tend to have strong roots of values and culture that are in line with the basic principles of trusteeship - to preserve and grow wealth (both material and spiritual) for the benefit of future generations. This case is based on the history of and current challenges faced by such a family, the Mewar dynasty from India.

Lief, Colleen, Joachim Schwass, Ulrich Steger and John L. Ward. 2002. Bata Shoe Organization (B). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

This two-part case study examines the implications of organizational structure and control issues on company management and strategy. Effective corporate governance and its role in efficient operations management is the focus of these cases.

Ward, John L., Joachim Schwass and Colleen Lief. 2008. KWS (B): In Full Bloom - Independence and Continuity. IMD.

KWS SAAT AG (KWS) was a leader in sugar beet, corn and cereal seed breeding, operating in 70 countries, employing over 2,700 people and reporting revenues of $724 million in FY 2006/07. It had traveled far from its founding in eastern Germany by two friends in 1856. Through the years, the two families operated the business together and moved through successive generations of hands-on management. The company prided itself on its scientific and innovative prowess. Staying on the cutting edge of the seed breeding business required a consistent and dedicated approach to research. Any short-term curtailment of investment in developing seed varieties that responded to customers’ specific needs regarding climate, pests or other concerns meant falling behind competitors, perhaps irretrievably. The families’ philosophy formed the cornerstone of the firm’s core values. Individual freedom, personal development, independence, confidence and growth were cherished ideas at KWS. Its ability to balance contradiction and reject limits was key to success. Several things came along recently to challenge the company’s approach. Consolidation in the increasingly biotechnology-oriented industry brought major global chemical companies to the industry. Their deep pockets meant that many smaller players were selling out and the field of competitors contracted. The possibility to assure the families’ financial future for generations to come was tempting. At this same time, KWS faced a management issue. The family leader saw retirement on the horizon. Yet, a family successor seemed uncertain. How could the family ensure that their values would continue to guide the firm’s operations, even perhaps in the absence of day-to-day family leadership? This two-part case series explores corporate culture within the context of change, fomenting entrepreneurship and innovation that invigorates, and developing effective strategy for a competitive environment undergoing significant adjustment. Learning objectives: To facilitate discussion of how companies may respond to not only normal, yet relentless stresses but also major events which threaten to derail generations of work; balancing incongruity and dissonance; encouraging entrepreneurial tendencies in staff; examining the role of values in an enterprise; planning for significant transitions in leadership.

Ward, John L. and Joachim Schwass. 2005. Clinton Devon Estates: Since 1299, A Culture of Distinction (B). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

his three part case series explores the strategic and cultural implications of recognizing a major reconsideration of a multitude of long-held beliefs may be needed to ensure a firm’s survival. The business lines and corporate culture that had served this landed estate so well and for so long had been challenged by radical changes in the operating environment, industry and ownership assumptions. The company needs to look deep inside itself and clarify its purpose and core values. The A case presents the background and colorful history of this unique business, from 1299 to the year 2000, and lays out the challenges and options under consideration by the trustees, family owners and management. Much was at stake for Clinton Devon. To sell the estate lock, stock and barrel, spending the future counting newly-liquid wealth, was not an option congruent with the family’s heritage and philosophy. However, to do nothing meant the estate’s near-certain demise. Case B reveals the innovative and unexpected steps actually undertaken by this organization and the results that followed. The C case brings the story up-to-date with an assessment of the Estate’s strategic initiatives and results. New plans for the enterprise are reviewed. Learning objectives: 1) Making decisions between two desirable alternatives may not be necessary. There may be a third way to accomplish both. 2) Reinforcing the notion that frequent, authentic communication with constituents, focused on long-term relationship building, is essential. 3) Engaging the workforce can uncover existing potential. 4) Hiring an outsider with fresh views and who shares the family’s values may bring the talents of a change agent to bear on the situation. 5) Understanding that a firm’s traditional industry and its culture and purpose can be de-linked without harm to the enterprise.

Ward, John L., Joachim Schwass and Colleen Lief. 2008. Oracle of Omaha Meets the Visionaries of Galilee.

Iscar Metalworking was an Israeli producer of metal working and metal cutting tools for industries requiring precise tolerances. Iscar had grown into a global enterprise with employees and offices throughout the world, though it was founded in 1952 in modest circumstances. The business thrived on innovation, passion and dedication to a client-centred approach. Something appeared on the horizon, however, which could potentially disrupt the hard-developed strategies and prosperity of its winning approach. Iscar was a second generation family firm whose CEO was not a family member. Retirement loomed in the medium-term for the family member chairman and the family was unsure of next generation interest in hands-on management of the company. How best to preserve for the future what two generations had worked so diligently to build and nourish? Management evaluated a broad range of options. But Iscar's special brand of success was unique and to be protected at all costs. It became evident that the best solution for the company was to evolve into a situation where it could remain operationally independent yet have its future - corporate culture, strategic approach - assured. It felt like looking for a needle in a haystack but the answer finally appeared. Berkshire Hathaway (BH), run by the famed investor Warren Buffett, appeared to operate in fashion very recognisable to Iscar. Independence, maturity, values-driven management were evident in the way BH did business. This case explores Iscar's steps toward growth and success, its recognition that both a familiar and a different future must be assured for the long-term and the process and reality of becoming part of the BH dynasty. Learning objectives: to allow participants to consider the role of corporate culture and company 'DNA' in the context of a need for significant change. Mergers and acquisitions must be approached carefully and in full understanding of the implicit risks and benefits to a company's culture and history of a transaction. How important are similar or complementary values and purpose in a strategic combination? The approach of the acquiring firm can build or destroy value in the target. What makes the difference between the two outcomes will be explored.

Lief, Colleen, Joachim Schwass, Ulrich Steger and John L. Ward. 2002. Bata Shoe Organization (A). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

This two-part case study examines the implications of organizational structure and control issues on company management and strategy. Effective corporate governance and its role in efficient operations management is the focus of these cases.

Ward, John L. and Colleen Lief. 2005. Four Generations of the Owens Family (A). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

This case series follows the Richard Owens family through nearly one hundred years of evolution and change. The A-case describes how the family business started with one grocery store in 1906 and, by 1974, had grown into a large private enterprise that included supermarkets, liquor stores and real estate. While competitors could not seem to stop the Owens family business, fractured family relationships and rivalries caused significant problems. In 1974, the conflict came to a head and the firm was split into three, one business line for each sibling.    This four part case series follows the Richard Owens family through nearly one hundred years of evolution and change. The family business started with one grocery store in 1906 and, by 1974, had grown into a large private enterprise that included supermarkets, liquor stores and real estate. While competitors could not seem to stop the Owens family business, fractured family relationships and rivalries caused significant problems. In 1974, the conflict came to a head and the firm was split into three, one business line for each sibling. How the businesses fared and how each brother managed his company for the future are the subjects of the B case. Efforts by one branch of the family to avoid the kinds of problems that brought about the division of the original family business are outlined. Governance and ownership issues now faced by the next generation are highlighted. The C case brings participants up-to-date with the evolution of the Richard Owens family's first constitution and governance policies implemented to help protect the family firm for the future. The D case presents the next step in family and company governance, highlighting the most recent family constitution dated November 2002.

Ward, John L. and Colleen Lief. 2005. Four Generations of the Owens Family (C). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

This four part case series follows the Richard Owens family through nearly one hundred years of evolution and change. The family business started with one grocery store in 1906 and, by 1974, had grown into a large private enterprise that included supermarkets, liquor stores and real estate. While competitors could not seem to stop the Owens family business, fractured family relationships and rivalries caused significant problems. In 1974, the conflict came to a head and the firm was split into three, one business line for each sibling. How the businesses fared and how each brother managed his company for the future are the subjects of the B case. Efforts by one branch of the family to avoid the kinds of problems that brought about the division of the original family business are outlined. Governance and ownership issues now faced by the next generation are highlighted. The C case brings participants up-to-date with the evolution of the Richard Owens family's first constitution and governance policies implemented to help protect the family firm for the future. The D case presents the next step in family and company governance, highlighting the most recent family constitution dated November 2002.

Ward, John L. and Colleen Lief. 2005. Four Generations of the Owens Family (B). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

How the businesses fared after the firm was split up in 1974 and how each brother managed his company for the future are the subjects of the B case. Efforts by one branch of the family to avoid the kinds of problems that brought about the division of the original family business are outlined. Governance and ownership issues now faced by the next generation are highlighted.    This four part case series follows the Richard Owens family through nearly one hundred years of evolution and change. The family business started with one grocery store in 1906 and, by 1974, had grown into a large private enterprise that included supermarkets, liquor stores and real estate. While competitors could not seem to stop the Owens family business, fractured family relationships and rivalries caused significant problems. In 1974, the conflict came to a head and the firm was split into three, one business line for each sibling. How the businesses fared and how each brother managed his company for the future are the subjects of the B case. Efforts by one branch of the family to avoid the kinds of problems that brought about the division of the original family business are outlined. Governance and ownership issues now faced by the next generation are highlighted. The C case brings participants up-to-date with the evolution of the Richard Owens family's first constitution and governance policies implemented to help protect the family firm for the future. The D case presents the next step in family and company governance, highlighting the most recent family constitution dated November 2002.

Ward, John L. and Joachim Schwass. 2005. Clinton Devon Estates: Since 1299, A Culture of Distinction (A). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

This three part case series explores the strategic and cultural implications of recognizing a major reconsideration of a multitude of long-held beliefs may be needed to ensure a firm’s survival. The business lines and corporate culture that had served this landed estate so well and for so long had been challenged by radical changes in the operating environment, industry and ownership assumptions. The company needs to look deep inside itself and clarify its purpose and core values. The A case presents the background and colorful history of this unique business, from 1299 to the year 2000, and lays out the challenges and options under consideration by the trustees, family owners and management. Much was at stake for Clinton Devon. To sell the estate lock, stock and barrel, spending the future counting newly-liquid wealth, was not an option congruent with the family’s heritage and philosophy. However, to do nothing meant the estate’s near-certain demise. Case B reveals the innovative and unexpected steps actually undertaken by this organization and the results that followed. The C case brings the story up-to-date with an assessment of the Estate’s strategic initiatives and results. New plans for the enterprise are reviewed. Learning objectives: 1) Making decisions between two desirable alternatives may not be necessary. There may be a third way to accomplish both. 2) Reinforcing the notion that frequent, authentic communication with constituents, focused on long-term relationship building, is essential. 3) Engaging the workforce can uncover existing potential. 4) Hiring an outsider with fresh views and who shares the family’s values may bring the talents of a change agent to bear on the situation. 5) Understanding that a firm’s traditional industry and its culture and purpose can be de-linked without harm to the enterprise.

Ward, John L. and Sachin Waikar. 2011. Ensuring Family and Business Continuity at India's GMR Group. Indian School of Business/IVEY Publishing.

Most family businesses do not survive beyond two or three generations. One of the main reasons for the short life span of family businesses is due to the lack of governance mechanisms in the family. With better family governance, business development becomes a more enjoyable journey and ensures continuity of the business across generations. This case is about an Indian family business, GMR Group, which was established a quarter century ago, and by 2010 became one of the major diversified infrastructure organizations in the country with large-scale interests in infrastructure (energy, roads and airports) and manufacturing (agri-business, mainly sugar). Since its founding, the Group has come a long way, from an independent proprietary enterprise to a family-owned holding corporation with several companies under its control, along with external stakeholders. The growth of the group has been led by the entrepreneurial zeal and organizational capabilities of its founder G.M Rao. Having seen many family businesses breaking up for want of adequate governance mechanisms, Rao led the way for the writing of his family’s constitution with the help of several experts. The entire family spent many hours, and after several rounds of iteration created and signed a constitution in 2007. The writing process of the constitution, and the policies and processes developed were optimal for maximizing GMR’s performance and the family’s well-being in current and future generations. The case captures the essential processes and output of writing a family constitution.

Ward, John L., Joachim Schwass and Colleen Lief. 2008. KWS (A): The Roots of Independence. IMD.

KWS SAAT AG (KWS) was a leader in sugar beet, corn and cereal seed breeding, operating in 70 countries, employing over 2,700 people and reporting revenues of $724 million in FY 2006/07. It had traveled far from its founding in eastern Germany by two friends in 1856. Through the years, the two families operated the business together and moved through successive generations of hands-on management. The company prided itself on its scientific and innovative prowess. Staying on the cutting edge of the seed breeding business required a consistent and dedicated approach to research. Any short-term curtailment of investment in developing seed varieties that responded to customers’ specific needs regarding climate, pests or other concerns meant falling behind competitors, perhaps irretrievably. The families’ philosophy formed the cornerstone of the firm’s core values. Individual freedom, personal development, independence, confidence and growth were cherished ideas at KWS. Its ability to balance contradiction and reject limits was key to success. Several things came along recently to challenge the company’s approach. Consolidation in the increasingly biotechnology-oriented industry brought major global chemical companies to the industry. Their deep pockets meant that many smaller players were selling out and the field of competitors contracted. The possibility to assure the families’ financial future for generations to come was tempting. At this same time, KWS faced a management issue. The family leader saw retirement on the horizon. Yet, a family successor seemed uncertain. How could the family ensure that their values would continue to guide the firm’s operations, even perhaps in the absence of day-to-day family leadership? This two-part case series explores corporate culture within the context of change, fomenting entrepreneurship and innovation that invigorates, and developing effective strategy for a competitive environment undergoing significant adjustment. Learning objectives: To facilitate discussion of how companies may respond to not only normal, yet relentless stresses but also major events which threaten to derail generations of work; balancing incongruity and dissonance; encouraging entrepreneurial tendencies in staff; examining the role of values in an enterprise; planning for significant transitions in leadership.

Ward, John L. and Joachim Schwass. 2005. Four Generations of the Owens Family (D). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

This four part case series follows the Richard Owens family through nearly one hundred years of evolution and change. The family business started with one grocery store in 1906 and, by 1974, had grown into a large private enterprise that included supermarkets, liquor stores and real estate. While competitors could not seem to stop the Owens family business, fractured family relationships and rivalries caused significant problems. In 1974, the conflict came to a head and the firm was split into three, one business line for each sibling. How the businesses fared and how each brother managed his company for the future are the subjects of the B case. Efforts by one branch of the family to avoid the kinds of problems that brought about the division of the original family business are outlined. Governance and ownership issues now faced by the next generation are highlighted. The C case brings participants up-to-date with the evolution of the Richard Owens family's first constitution and governance policies implemented to help protect the family firm for the future. The D case presents the next step in family and company governance, highlighting the most recent family constitution dated November 2002.

Ward, John L. and Colleen Lief. 2006. Lee Kum Kee Co. Ltd (B): Passing Down the Recipe. Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

The B-case of this two-part series examines the 5th generation’s interest in and engagement with the company and prospects for the future of family leadership. Establishment of critical governance structures, preparation for periods of non-family management and mechanisms for formal and informal next generation education are key issues.

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2004. Succession and Continuity for Johnson Family Enterprises (B). Case 5-104-013(B) (KEL123).

Case A shows the options that exist for a successful transition of leadership from one generation to the next, based on a family's and company's unique history, structures and players. Case B shows successful leadership as a fluid, interactive process matching individual desires and potential with strategic business goals and opportunities.

Ward, John and Carrie Meek. 2005. Fel-Pro (A): A Five-Generation Winning Workplace. Case 5-105-001(A) (KEL118).

A successful, multi-generation manufacturing family business, with progressive human resource policies, weighs the pros and cons to family owners and company employees of selling the business in order to meet the challenge of global competition.

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2016. Plymouth Tube Company: How to Build Ownership Consensus. Case 5-214-250.

Plymouth Tube, a family business, was a manufacturer of precision tubing and extruded shapes for aerospace, desalination, medical, mining, energy, and water industries globally. Founded in 1924, as of 2012 it employed 770 people at thirteen plants in seven U.S. states and had sales of about $240 million. The family had twenty members across three generations, including spouses. The board was composed of eight members, three from the family and five who were independent. Stacy, age 30, was the only fifth-generation family member working for the company. Her father, Van, age 64 and a fourth-generation member, had been in the business for forty years and had succeeded his father as president, CEO, and chairman.

In early 2013, management presented a very large expansion project that was riskier than previous recent investments to the board, and requested the board's approval. Independent board members asked Van to obtain feedback from the family about the proposal. Van asked Stacy to direct the process for informing the family, asking for their input, and communicating it back to the board.

How should Stacy conduct the process? What should be done with the information once it has been gathered? Should family members be involved in this type of business decision? Based on the information given in the case, is this a good investment?

Ward, John and Christina N Goletz. 2004. Clemens Family Corporation (A): The Struggle from Family First to Business First. Case 5-104-012(A) (KEL115).

Case A shows how a regional family company, threatened by national competition, needs to make changes to its structure and way of doing business or face extinction or sale. Case B shows the steps the business takes to make it succeed, including restructuring that involves eliminating long-time family managers and planning for succession. Case C shows post-transition successes and areas that still need work.

Ward, John, Sachin Waikar and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2009. Culture and Compensation: Considering Performance and Variable Pay at SRF Limited . Case 5-109-004 (KEL445).

When a consultant recommends an overhaul of the HR compensation practices that the family business is known for and prizes, what should be the next steps?

Ward, John. 2007. Star Machining Services, Inc.. Case 5-307-500 (KEL372).

Six siblings with equal ownership conflict with each other depending on their roles as owners and/or owner managers. In this case, students will learn to clarify roles of ownership in terms of active/inactive in the business.

Ward, John, Carol Adler Zsolnay and Sachin Waikar. 2016. How to Motivate the Fifth Generation? Balancing Engagement and Entitlement at Lee Kum Kee. Case 5-214-251 (KEL949).

In mid-2013, the Lee family, which owned the Hong Kong–based food and health product giant Lee Kum Kee (LKK), struggled with how best to increase involvement of the fifth generation (G5), the children of the company's current fourth-generation (G4) senior executives and governance leaders. Only two of the fourteen G5 members had joined the company, and few had expressed interest in further involvement, including in the multiple learning and development programs the business offered, such as a mentoring program. Many of the G5 cousins had expressed little interest in business careers in general, and none of them currently was serving as an LKK intern. G4 members observed that their children were busy with family obligations, hobbies, and emerging careers outside the business. G5's lack of interest in business and governance roles was part of a growing pattern of low family engagement in general, exhibited by the cancellation of recent family retreats (once an annual tradition) because of apathy and some underlying conflict. A history of splits among past generations of the Lee family regarding business leadership made the engagement issue even more meaningful and critical.

Students will consider the challenge from the point of view of G4 family members David Lee, chairman of the family's Family Office, and his sister, Elizabeth Mok, who ran the Family Learning and Development Center. They and their three siblings saw engaging the next generation as a top priority, one related to key concepts including family-business continuity, generational engagement and empowerment, succession, emotional ownership, and intrinsic/extrinsic motivation.

Ward, John and Susan Perricelli. 2005. Magid Glove and Safety Manufacturing. Case 5-404-760 (KEL120).

Based on this multi-generation family business' history, strategy, governance, and market, what does the future hold for the business and the family's involvement in it? Can succession work with co-CEOs?

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2010. Keddeg Company (C): March–December 2008: From Go-Go Succession to Non-Family Sale. Case 5-107-012(C) (KEL480).

A married couple who have a successful industrial B2B business evaluate whether or not to sell the business to two of their offspring, who are both entrepreneurial MBA graduates. Complicating factors include the fact that the sale price and structure need to finance the couple’s retirement and give fair inheritance treatment to the remaining siblings. In addition, the father has had some health issues and the business is doing well, so there is a lot of forward momentum to sell to the next generation.

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2004. The Murugappa Group: Centuries-Old Business Heritage and Tradition. Case 5-104-011 (KEL121).

A successful five-generation family business group in India separates its ownership role from its operational management role to meet the needs of a more global economy. This includes hiring professional non-family managers of business units and including non-family directors on the corporate board.

Ward, John. 2009. Technical Note: Ten Secrets of Successful Business Families . Case 7-309-500 (KEL460).

This technical note is a descriptive list of factors that are present in large, successful, long-term and/or multi-generation family businesses.

Ward, John, Suren Mansinghka, Bhaskar Sambamurthy and Elyssa Tran. 2006. The Harilela Empire: An Indian Family Business in Hong Kong. Case 5-405-757 (KEL249).

A second-generation, multi-billion dollar Asian family business, run for decades by six brothers, faces issues of ownership, family employment, management, leadership, governance, and succession as it transitions to the third-generation of siblings and cousins.

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2004. Succession and Continuity for Johnson Family Enterprises (A). Case 5-104-013(A) (KEL122).

Case A shows the options that exist for a successful transition of leadership from one generation to the next, based on a family's and company's unique history, structures and players. Case B shows successful leadership as a fluid, interactive process matching individual desires and potential with strategic business goals and opportunities.

Ward, John and Brian Colton. 2004. Weston Nurseries Inc.(A). Case 5-105-002(A) (KEL147).

Brothers in a multi-generation family business engage in a power struggle and the board must decide on a new leadership strategy.

Ward, John, Brent C. Stern, Carol Adler Zsolnay and Sachin Waikar. 2016. ATF, Inc.: Fasteners and Family. Case 5-113-004 (KEL957).

The ATF case is a succinct opportunity to explore the many special features of leadership succession for a family business. In 2009 the company was passing the baton to the oldest of three sons in the second-generation family business.

ATF produced metal and plastic fasteners for, primarily, the automotive industry. ATF had grown into a company with more than $50 million in annual revenues. The company had grown in large part through alliances with other family businesses around the world. First-generation patriarch Don Surber had led the company since he acquired it in 1982. Don was known for his charismatic leadership style and his focus on driving value through a network approach.

The case traces the career paths of all three sons and looks at the succession through the eyes of the oldest son, Jason Surber. The elements, constituents, and challenges of succession are evident. The fundamental insight is that business leadership succession is far more than just passing the business leadership baton. It also requires attention to the family, the board, the whole system of external stakeholders, and the future of ownership.

The epilogue in this note covers the period from 2009 to 2012 by describing what Jason did to earn credibility, to incorporate his brothers, and to define his personal leadership philosophy and style. The epilogue thus provides students with an opportunity to consider and define their own personal philosophy of management leadership and their own style. They will see the art of melding styles from the past with their own for the future.

Ward, John and Canh Tran. 2004. Scott Family Enterprises (B): Addressing Family Goals and Visions in the Family Enterprise. Case 5-204-267(B) (KEL125).

A large family business in banking and ranching is shifting leadership to the next generation and has developed a protocol to select board members agreed upon by all. When the selection occurs, it is not made in accordance with the protocol and a third generation family member questions why the selection rules were changed by second generation members without input or vote. The case highlights the growing pains of developing fair processes and guidelines for nominating and selecting board members, meeting family expectations, communicating with constituents, and encouraging active roles in governance at the cousin-stage of a family business.

Ward, John, Sachin Waikar and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2009. Technical Note: Why Bond? The Benefits of Family Ties across Time, Space, and Generations. Case 7-309-501 (KEL459).

This technical note contains examples from other fields on the benefits of bonds of families, extended families, and communities for members of multi-generation family businesses.

Ward, John and Carrie Meek. 2005. Fel-Pro (B): After the Sale-The Lehman Family Transition. Case 5-105-001(B) (KEL119).

After the sale of their multi-generation family business, a family and business transitions. The family uses the sales contract to maintain its progressive human resource policies. The family organizes a family investment office, establishes foundations, and launches new ventures.

Ward, John and Christina N Goletz. 2004. Clemens Family Corporation (B): The Process of Change. Case 5-104-012(B) (KEL116).

Case A shows how a regional family company, threatened by national competition, needs to make changes to its structure and way of doing business or face extinction or sale. Case B shows the steps the business takes to make it succeed, including restructuring that involves eliminating long-time family managers and planning for succession. Case C shows post-transition successes and areas that still need work.

Ward, John and Brian Colton. 2004. Weston Nurseries Inc.(B). Case 5-105-002(B) (KEL148).

A non-family board member of a multi-generation family business is tapped as CEO during a leadership crisis.

Ward, John, Sachin Waikar and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2008. Families, Fortunes, and Footwear: Reaching Out to the Fourth Generation of Brazil’s Lupo S.A.. Case 5-408-753 (KEL406).

A successful third-generation family business explores whether or not to continue in business as a family into the fourth generation. If they do decide to move forward as a family business, how can they cultivate knowledge and interest among the forty-plus fourth-generation family members.

Ward, John. 2010. Technical Note: The Family Constitution. Case 7-309-502 (KEL601).

This note introduces the importance to family businesses of drafting a family constitution to maintain success and continuity of governance of the family’s enterprises. The process of family members/owners being involved in making the draft provides the most value for the enterprise, more so than the content of the finished product.

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2007. Keddeg Company (B): Twenty Months Later. Case 5-107-012(B) (KEL479).

A married couple who have a successful industrial B2B business evaluate whether or not to sell the business to two of their offspring, who are both entrepreneurial MBA graduates. Complicating factors include the fact that the sale price and structure need to finance the couple’s retirement and give fair inheritance treatment to the remaining siblings. In addition, the father has had some health issues and the business is doing well, so there is a lot of forward momentum to sell to the next generation.

Ward, John and Elly Andriopoulou. 2006. The Oberman Family and Omeda Communications Inc.. Case 5-105-003 (KEL293).

How should this successful, entrepreneurial family business plan for leadership, ownership, and governance succession to the next generation?

Ward, John and Christina N Goletz. 2004. Clemens Family Corporation (C): Post Transition (August 2001). Case 5-104-012(C) (KEL117).

Case A shows how a regional family company, threatened by national competition, needs to make changes to its structure and way of doing business or face extinction or sale. Case B shows the steps the business takes to make it succeed, including restructuring that involves eliminating long-time family managers and planning for succession. Case C shows post-transition successes and areas that still need work.

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2007. Freedom Communications, Inc: Family Enterprise or Liquidity?. Case 5-307-504 (KEL339).

A family media enterprise with very strong family culture and values is in the third and fourth generation of ownership and governance. They face a crisis when a large number of family shareholders want to cash out their shares. What led to this situation? How could it have been avoided? How should it be resolved? LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Lack of succession and liquidity planning can harm the business through generations when it becomes a crisis.

Ward, John, Susan Schwendener and Scott Whitaker. 2010. Creating a Family Business: The Genesis of Rogers Family Enterprises. Case 5-210-254 (KEL567).

Steven Rogers had always thought that someday he would like to own a business with one or both of his daughters. As his eldest daughter, Akilah, finished her final semester at Harvard Business School, she told Rogers that she would like to create with him a Chicago-based real estate venture that included buying, rehabbing and renting homes in the Englewood and South Shore neighborhoods of Chicago.
Rogers quickly realized that his biggest challenge was how to equitably structure the ownership of the business. He gathered advice from family business experts and slowly began to build a plan that would benefit each member of his family. Meanwhile, Akilah assumed responsibilities associated with the business as she finished her final semester at HBS. The case ends with Rogers Family Enterprises owning its first three houses.

Ward, John. 2017. What's in a Family Legacy? Balancing Family Emotions and Business Growth at Luse Holdings. Case 5-416-758 (KEL994).

After decades of continuity, Luse Holdings faced a new challenge in 2015. The company needed to pivot in a changing industry context—specifically, Luse had lost a bid to a non-union competitor for the first time—and CEO and fourth-generation member Steve Luse was considering three primary options: (1) continue as is, while also adding non-union services; (2) sell part of the business to reduce family risk; or (3) sell the entire business to fund other family interests. A fourth possible option was a maximization-of-growth alternative.

This decision involved more than business considerations alone. The family's legacy as an industry champion and community philanthropist also required considering all relevant stakeholders, including immediate and extended family, employees, and community. Complicating the situation was the lack of an immediately identifiable successor in the next generation of the Luse family, though several fifth-generation members had completed internships with the business—including Steve's daughter Ashley, a recent MBA graduate. Students will step into Steve's shoes as he considers what recommendations to make to the advisory board six months from now. Students can also take the perspective of Ashley, a rising next-generation member: should she join the family business?

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2005. Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family. Case 7-404-750 (KEL284).

The case looks at Thomas Mann’s fiction novel Buddenbrooks and traces the family business trajectory of the family at the center of the novel. Many family business issues are raised, including succession, intermingling of family and business money, supporting adult offspring, and competition.

Is the saying “from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves” inevitable in a multi-generation family business?

Ward, John, Carol Adler Zsolnay and Sachin Waikar. 2017. A Diamond in the Rough: J. M. Huber and the PATH Business. Case 5-416-757 (KE1002).

In late 2011, Jerry Bertram, vice president and general manager of the fire retardant additives business of Huber Engineered Materials (HEM), a division of family-owned J. M. Huber Corporation, was preparing to present the potential acquisition of the precipitated alumina trihydrate (PATH) business to the environment, health, and safety committee of Huber's corporate board. He had convinced HEM's leadership of PATH's strategic value to their business and the urgency of the acquisition based on PATH's parent company's movement into Chapter 11 bankruptcy and its plans to close the PATH plant.

Winning board approval posed a major challenge. It was unclear whether the plant would remain operational, because HEM would have to enter a shared-services arrangement with PATH's parent company, which continued to use the site. In addition, acquiring PATH would mean integrating its specialized, unionized labor force into Huber, which had very few union workers. Finally, early due diligence had revealed tens of millions of dollars of potential environmental risk on the site. The last issue was particularly critical, given Huber's generations-long history of respect for the environment, and its executives' and directors' reluctance to take on any business with excessive environmental risk.

This case illustrates in depth the family business values that can promote consideration of an ostensibly unconventional and risky strategic move, and enable executives to push for approval of the same, as backed by comprehensive risk assessment and mitigation plans.

Ward, John and Canh Tran. 2004. Scott Family Enterprises (A): Defining Fair Process for Cousin Owners. Case 5-204-267(A) (KEL124).

A large family business in banking and ranching is shifting leadership to the next generation and has developed a protocol to select board members agreed upon by all. When the selection occurs, it is not made in accordance with the protocol and a third generation family member questions why the selection rules were changed by second generation members without input or vote. The case highlights the growing pains of developing fair processes and guidelines for nominating and selecting board members, meeting family expectations, communicating with constituents, and encouraging active roles in governance at the cousin-stage of a family business.

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2007. Keddeg Company (A): Succession to the Next Generation of Small Business. Case 5-107-012(A) (KEL369).

A married couple who have a successful industrial B2B business evaluate whether or not to sell the business to two of their offspring, who are both entrepreneurial MBA graduates. Complicating factors include the fact that the sale price and structure need to finance the couple’s retirement and give fair inheritance treatment to the remaining siblings. In addition, the father has had some health issues and the business is doing well, so there is a lot of forward momentum to sell to the next generation.

Ward, John L.. 2004. Perpetuating the Family Business: 50 Lessons Learned from Long-Lasting, Successful Families in Business. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

This book brings together a vast amount of experience to show the "best practices" of the most successful and long-lasting families in business. It provides a framework of five insights and four principles in which to position 50 lessons for family businesses. This is the most comprehensive book on sustaining the family business and contains international examples and cases and essential tools and checklists of best practice. Languages: Serbian

Carlock, Randel S and John L. Ward. 2001. Strategic Planning for the Family Business: Parallel Planning To Unify the Family and Business. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

From small start-ups to giant multinationals, from the Mom-and-Pop-owned barbershop to Ford Motor Company, family owned businesses continue to dominate the world economy. Regardless of size, running a successful family firm presents unique challenges, and many fail to survive the transition from one generation to the next. Here is a practical, comprehensive guide to ensuring success through effective strategic planning. The authors provide a wealth of tested, easy-to-follow tools and techniques for mastering strategic planning for family-owned firms. Filled with real world examples, case studies, checklists and planning worksheets, the book shows how to deal with a host of emerging challenges –from new technologies to global markets– by integrating family values and dynamics into sound planning and management.

Ward, John L., Thierry Lombard and Matthieu Ricard. 2008. Why Others? Philanthropy as Opportunity.

Why Others?  summarizes the many questions which individuals and families need to ask themselves when turning to philanthropy.  Why should I give?  To whom? What for? How much?  Alone or with my family?  Each case is different of course, but there are principles which are valid for any giving.  The art of giving, consists both in meeting the needs of the beneficiaries and in fulfilling the expectations of the donors who are giving their time or money.  Why Others?  is written to help you to discover philanthropy for what it is: a means to shape a better future by acting in the present.

Ward, John L. and Colleen Lief. 2006. Lee Kum Kee Co. Ltd (A): The Family Recipe. Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

This two-part case series starts with the accidental discovery of an important condiment in Chinese cuisine in 1888. The company, Lee Kum Kee Ltd., was born as a result and over the intervening years grew into a large global enterprise. Case A describes the development of the firm and family from the 1st through 4th generations. Development of a values-based corporate culture, facilitation of entrepreneurship and the ramifications of family/business crises are highlighted.

Miller, Warren D., Gerry Boschowitz, Rudy Boschowitz, Joe Mattos, Mary Whiteside and John L. Ward. 2000. The Ghost in the Family Business. Case Study Commentary: Harvard Business Review R00315.

For teaching purposes, this is the commentary-only version of the HBR case study. The case-only version is reprint R00314. The complete case study and commentary is reprint R00308. Mac Monroe had grand plans for Georgia Building Supplies, the company he had started with a friend almost 50 years ago, selling construction materials wholesale to contractors. In the mid-1980s, Mac bought out his disgruntled partner's share of the company and put his oldest son, Mac Monroe IV, at the helm. It was all falling into place. But Mac Four, as his parents called him, died tragically in a car accident. The family and the company never recovered. Mac sold GBS two years later. Now Mac is trying it again, bankrolling Carolina Construction Supply with his youngest boy, John "Little Bit" Monroe, at the helm. The tech-savvy Little Bit would like Mac and CCS to embrace the Internet for on-line transactions and service. But Mac keeps emphasizing sales, and he's lured two heavy-hitter salesmen from the competition--including his middle son, Mike Monroe. In its first two years, CCS has lost $1 million, and the ghost of Mac Four lingers at the company--Mac is constantly invoking his name, alluding to what Mac Four would have done if he were still alive. Complicating matters is the Monroe family's overprotective matriarch, Bea, who doesn't want to hear anything bad about her boys, and who'd like more time to spend with her 70-something husband. Mac's got plenty of doubts about CCS's future--that's why he's called on P. Dee Chambers, a consultant to small businesses, for advice. What should she tell him? Can Carolina Construction Supply be saved? In R00308 and R00315, five commentators, Gerry Boschwitz, Rudy Boschwitz, Mary F. Whiteside, Joe Mattos, and John L. Ward, review this fictional account and offer their advice.

Ward, John L., Joachim Schwass and Colleen Lief. 2005. Clinton Devon Estates: Since 1299, A Culture of Distinction (C). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

This three part case series explores the strategic and cultural implications of recognizing a major reconsideration of a multitude of long-held beliefs may be needed to ensure a firm’s survival. The business lines and corporate culture that had served this landed estate so well and for so long had been challenged by radical changes in the operating environment, industry and ownership assumptions. The company needs to look deep inside itself and clarify its purpose and core values. The A case presents the background and colorful history of this unique business, from 1299 to the year 2000, and lays out the challenges and options under consideration by the trustees, family owners and management. Much was at stake for Clinton Devon. To sell the estate lock, stock and barrel, spending the future counting newly-liquid wealth, was not an option congruent with the family’s heritage and philosophy. However, to do nothing meant the estate’s near-certain demise. Case B reveals the innovative and unexpected steps actually undertaken by this organization and the results that followed. The C case brings the story up-to-date with an assessment of the Estate’s strategic initiatives and results. New plans for the enterprise are reviewed. Learning objectives: 1) Making decisions between two desirable alternatives may not be necessary. There may be a third way to accomplish both. 2) Reinforcing the notion that frequent, authentic communication with constituents, focused on long-term relationship building, is essential. 3) Engaging the workforce can uncover existing potential. 4) Hiring an outsider with fresh views and who shares the family’s values may bring the talents of a change agent to bear on the situation. 5) Understanding that a firm’s traditional industry and its culture and purpose can be de-linked without harm to the enterprise.

Ward, John L. and Sachin Waikar. 2011. India's Mewar Dynasty: Upholding 76 Generations of Service and Custodianship (A) (B) (C). Indian School of Business/IVEY Publishing.

There are not many families in the world that can claim continuity of existence for over 76 generations in either business or otherwise. Families that manage such a feat tend to have strong roots of values and culture that are in line with the basic principles of trusteeship - to preserve and grow wealth (both material and spiritual) for the benefit of future generations. This case is based on the history of and current challenges faced by such a family, the Mewar dynasty from India.

Lief, Colleen, Joachim Schwass, Ulrich Steger and John L. Ward. 2002. Bata Shoe Organization (B). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

This two-part case study examines the implications of organizational structure and control issues on company management and strategy. Effective corporate governance and its role in efficient operations management is the focus of these cases.

Ward, John L., Joachim Schwass and Colleen Lief. 2008. KWS (B): In Full Bloom - Independence and Continuity. IMD.

KWS SAAT AG (KWS) was a leader in sugar beet, corn and cereal seed breeding, operating in 70 countries, employing over 2,700 people and reporting revenues of $724 million in FY 2006/07. It had traveled far from its founding in eastern Germany by two friends in 1856. Through the years, the two families operated the business together and moved through successive generations of hands-on management. The company prided itself on its scientific and innovative prowess. Staying on the cutting edge of the seed breeding business required a consistent and dedicated approach to research. Any short-term curtailment of investment in developing seed varieties that responded to customers’ specific needs regarding climate, pests or other concerns meant falling behind competitors, perhaps irretrievably. The families’ philosophy formed the cornerstone of the firm’s core values. Individual freedom, personal development, independence, confidence and growth were cherished ideas at KWS. Its ability to balance contradiction and reject limits was key to success. Several things came along recently to challenge the company’s approach. Consolidation in the increasingly biotechnology-oriented industry brought major global chemical companies to the industry. Their deep pockets meant that many smaller players were selling out and the field of competitors contracted. The possibility to assure the families’ financial future for generations to come was tempting. At this same time, KWS faced a management issue. The family leader saw retirement on the horizon. Yet, a family successor seemed uncertain. How could the family ensure that their values would continue to guide the firm’s operations, even perhaps in the absence of day-to-day family leadership? This two-part case series explores corporate culture within the context of change, fomenting entrepreneurship and innovation that invigorates, and developing effective strategy for a competitive environment undergoing significant adjustment. Learning objectives: To facilitate discussion of how companies may respond to not only normal, yet relentless stresses but also major events which threaten to derail generations of work; balancing incongruity and dissonance; encouraging entrepreneurial tendencies in staff; examining the role of values in an enterprise; planning for significant transitions in leadership.

Ward, John L. and Joachim Schwass. 2005. Clinton Devon Estates: Since 1299, A Culture of Distinction (B). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

his three part case series explores the strategic and cultural implications of recognizing a major reconsideration of a multitude of long-held beliefs may be needed to ensure a firm’s survival. The business lines and corporate culture that had served this landed estate so well and for so long had been challenged by radical changes in the operating environment, industry and ownership assumptions. The company needs to look deep inside itself and clarify its purpose and core values. The A case presents the background and colorful history of this unique business, from 1299 to the year 2000, and lays out the challenges and options under consideration by the trustees, family owners and management. Much was at stake for Clinton Devon. To sell the estate lock, stock and barrel, spending the future counting newly-liquid wealth, was not an option congruent with the family’s heritage and philosophy. However, to do nothing meant the estate’s near-certain demise. Case B reveals the innovative and unexpected steps actually undertaken by this organization and the results that followed. The C case brings the story up-to-date with an assessment of the Estate’s strategic initiatives and results. New plans for the enterprise are reviewed. Learning objectives: 1) Making decisions between two desirable alternatives may not be necessary. There may be a third way to accomplish both. 2) Reinforcing the notion that frequent, authentic communication with constituents, focused on long-term relationship building, is essential. 3) Engaging the workforce can uncover existing potential. 4) Hiring an outsider with fresh views and who shares the family’s values may bring the talents of a change agent to bear on the situation. 5) Understanding that a firm’s traditional industry and its culture and purpose can be de-linked without harm to the enterprise.

Ward, John L., Joachim Schwass and Colleen Lief. 2008. Oracle of Omaha Meets the Visionaries of Galilee.

Iscar Metalworking was an Israeli producer of metal working and metal cutting tools for industries requiring precise tolerances. Iscar had grown into a global enterprise with employees and offices throughout the world, though it was founded in 1952 in modest circumstances. The business thrived on innovation, passion and dedication to a client-centred approach. Something appeared on the horizon, however, which could potentially disrupt the hard-developed strategies and prosperity of its winning approach. Iscar was a second generation family firm whose CEO was not a family member. Retirement loomed in the medium-term for the family member chairman and the family was unsure of next generation interest in hands-on management of the company. How best to preserve for the future what two generations had worked so diligently to build and nourish? Management evaluated a broad range of options. But Iscar's special brand of success was unique and to be protected at all costs. It became evident that the best solution for the company was to evolve into a situation where it could remain operationally independent yet have its future - corporate culture, strategic approach - assured. It felt like looking for a needle in a haystack but the answer finally appeared. Berkshire Hathaway (BH), run by the famed investor Warren Buffett, appeared to operate in fashion very recognisable to Iscar. Independence, maturity, values-driven management were evident in the way BH did business. This case explores Iscar's steps toward growth and success, its recognition that both a familiar and a different future must be assured for the long-term and the process and reality of becoming part of the BH dynasty. Learning objectives: to allow participants to consider the role of corporate culture and company 'DNA' in the context of a need for significant change. Mergers and acquisitions must be approached carefully and in full understanding of the implicit risks and benefits to a company's culture and history of a transaction. How important are similar or complementary values and purpose in a strategic combination? The approach of the acquiring firm can build or destroy value in the target. What makes the difference between the two outcomes will be explored.

Lief, Colleen, Joachim Schwass, Ulrich Steger and John L. Ward. 2002. Bata Shoe Organization (A). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

This two-part case study examines the implications of organizational structure and control issues on company management and strategy. Effective corporate governance and its role in efficient operations management is the focus of these cases.

Ward, John L. and Colleen Lief. 2005. Four Generations of the Owens Family (A). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

This case series follows the Richard Owens family through nearly one hundred years of evolution and change. The A-case describes how the family business started with one grocery store in 1906 and, by 1974, had grown into a large private enterprise that included supermarkets, liquor stores and real estate. While competitors could not seem to stop the Owens family business, fractured family relationships and rivalries caused significant problems. In 1974, the conflict came to a head and the firm was split into three, one business line for each sibling.    This four part case series follows the Richard Owens family through nearly one hundred years of evolution and change. The family business started with one grocery store in 1906 and, by 1974, had grown into a large private enterprise that included supermarkets, liquor stores and real estate. While competitors could not seem to stop the Owens family business, fractured family relationships and rivalries caused significant problems. In 1974, the conflict came to a head and the firm was split into three, one business line for each sibling. How the businesses fared and how each brother managed his company for the future are the subjects of the B case. Efforts by one branch of the family to avoid the kinds of problems that brought about the division of the original family business are outlined. Governance and ownership issues now faced by the next generation are highlighted. The C case brings participants up-to-date with the evolution of the Richard Owens family's first constitution and governance policies implemented to help protect the family firm for the future. The D case presents the next step in family and company governance, highlighting the most recent family constitution dated November 2002.

Ward, John L. and Colleen Lief. 2005. Four Generations of the Owens Family (C). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

This four part case series follows the Richard Owens family through nearly one hundred years of evolution and change. The family business started with one grocery store in 1906 and, by 1974, had grown into a large private enterprise that included supermarkets, liquor stores and real estate. While competitors could not seem to stop the Owens family business, fractured family relationships and rivalries caused significant problems. In 1974, the conflict came to a head and the firm was split into three, one business line for each sibling. How the businesses fared and how each brother managed his company for the future are the subjects of the B case. Efforts by one branch of the family to avoid the kinds of problems that brought about the division of the original family business are outlined. Governance and ownership issues now faced by the next generation are highlighted. The C case brings participants up-to-date with the evolution of the Richard Owens family's first constitution and governance policies implemented to help protect the family firm for the future. The D case presents the next step in family and company governance, highlighting the most recent family constitution dated November 2002.

Ward, John L. and Colleen Lief. 2005. Four Generations of the Owens Family (B). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

How the businesses fared after the firm was split up in 1974 and how each brother managed his company for the future are the subjects of the B case. Efforts by one branch of the family to avoid the kinds of problems that brought about the division of the original family business are outlined. Governance and ownership issues now faced by the next generation are highlighted.    This four part case series follows the Richard Owens family through nearly one hundred years of evolution and change. The family business started with one grocery store in 1906 and, by 1974, had grown into a large private enterprise that included supermarkets, liquor stores and real estate. While competitors could not seem to stop the Owens family business, fractured family relationships and rivalries caused significant problems. In 1974, the conflict came to a head and the firm was split into three, one business line for each sibling. How the businesses fared and how each brother managed his company for the future are the subjects of the B case. Efforts by one branch of the family to avoid the kinds of problems that brought about the division of the original family business are outlined. Governance and ownership issues now faced by the next generation are highlighted. The C case brings participants up-to-date with the evolution of the Richard Owens family's first constitution and governance policies implemented to help protect the family firm for the future. The D case presents the next step in family and company governance, highlighting the most recent family constitution dated November 2002.

Ward, John L. and Joachim Schwass. 2005. Clinton Devon Estates: Since 1299, A Culture of Distinction (A). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

This three part case series explores the strategic and cultural implications of recognizing a major reconsideration of a multitude of long-held beliefs may be needed to ensure a firm’s survival. The business lines and corporate culture that had served this landed estate so well and for so long had been challenged by radical changes in the operating environment, industry and ownership assumptions. The company needs to look deep inside itself and clarify its purpose and core values. The A case presents the background and colorful history of this unique business, from 1299 to the year 2000, and lays out the challenges and options under consideration by the trustees, family owners and management. Much was at stake for Clinton Devon. To sell the estate lock, stock and barrel, spending the future counting newly-liquid wealth, was not an option congruent with the family’s heritage and philosophy. However, to do nothing meant the estate’s near-certain demise. Case B reveals the innovative and unexpected steps actually undertaken by this organization and the results that followed. The C case brings the story up-to-date with an assessment of the Estate’s strategic initiatives and results. New plans for the enterprise are reviewed. Learning objectives: 1) Making decisions between two desirable alternatives may not be necessary. There may be a third way to accomplish both. 2) Reinforcing the notion that frequent, authentic communication with constituents, focused on long-term relationship building, is essential. 3) Engaging the workforce can uncover existing potential. 4) Hiring an outsider with fresh views and who shares the family’s values may bring the talents of a change agent to bear on the situation. 5) Understanding that a firm’s traditional industry and its culture and purpose can be de-linked without harm to the enterprise.

Ward, John L. and Sachin Waikar. 2011. Ensuring Family and Business Continuity at India's GMR Group. Indian School of Business/IVEY Publishing.

Most family businesses do not survive beyond two or three generations. One of the main reasons for the short life span of family businesses is due to the lack of governance mechanisms in the family. With better family governance, business development becomes a more enjoyable journey and ensures continuity of the business across generations. This case is about an Indian family business, GMR Group, which was established a quarter century ago, and by 2010 became one of the major diversified infrastructure organizations in the country with large-scale interests in infrastructure (energy, roads and airports) and manufacturing (agri-business, mainly sugar). Since its founding, the Group has come a long way, from an independent proprietary enterprise to a family-owned holding corporation with several companies under its control, along with external stakeholders. The growth of the group has been led by the entrepreneurial zeal and organizational capabilities of its founder G.M Rao. Having seen many family businesses breaking up for want of adequate governance mechanisms, Rao led the way for the writing of his family’s constitution with the help of several experts. The entire family spent many hours, and after several rounds of iteration created and signed a constitution in 2007. The writing process of the constitution, and the policies and processes developed were optimal for maximizing GMR’s performance and the family’s well-being in current and future generations. The case captures the essential processes and output of writing a family constitution.

Ward, John L., Joachim Schwass and Colleen Lief. 2008. KWS (A): The Roots of Independence. IMD.

KWS SAAT AG (KWS) was a leader in sugar beet, corn and cereal seed breeding, operating in 70 countries, employing over 2,700 people and reporting revenues of $724 million in FY 2006/07. It had traveled far from its founding in eastern Germany by two friends in 1856. Through the years, the two families operated the business together and moved through successive generations of hands-on management. The company prided itself on its scientific and innovative prowess. Staying on the cutting edge of the seed breeding business required a consistent and dedicated approach to research. Any short-term curtailment of investment in developing seed varieties that responded to customers’ specific needs regarding climate, pests or other concerns meant falling behind competitors, perhaps irretrievably. The families’ philosophy formed the cornerstone of the firm’s core values. Individual freedom, personal development, independence, confidence and growth were cherished ideas at KWS. Its ability to balance contradiction and reject limits was key to success. Several things came along recently to challenge the company’s approach. Consolidation in the increasingly biotechnology-oriented industry brought major global chemical companies to the industry. Their deep pockets meant that many smaller players were selling out and the field of competitors contracted. The possibility to assure the families’ financial future for generations to come was tempting. At this same time, KWS faced a management issue. The family leader saw retirement on the horizon. Yet, a family successor seemed uncertain. How could the family ensure that their values would continue to guide the firm’s operations, even perhaps in the absence of day-to-day family leadership? This two-part case series explores corporate culture within the context of change, fomenting entrepreneurship and innovation that invigorates, and developing effective strategy for a competitive environment undergoing significant adjustment. Learning objectives: To facilitate discussion of how companies may respond to not only normal, yet relentless stresses but also major events which threaten to derail generations of work; balancing incongruity and dissonance; encouraging entrepreneurial tendencies in staff; examining the role of values in an enterprise; planning for significant transitions in leadership.

Ward, John L. and Joachim Schwass. 2005. Four Generations of the Owens Family (D). Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

This four part case series follows the Richard Owens family through nearly one hundred years of evolution and change. The family business started with one grocery store in 1906 and, by 1974, had grown into a large private enterprise that included supermarkets, liquor stores and real estate. While competitors could not seem to stop the Owens family business, fractured family relationships and rivalries caused significant problems. In 1974, the conflict came to a head and the firm was split into three, one business line for each sibling. How the businesses fared and how each brother managed his company for the future are the subjects of the B case. Efforts by one branch of the family to avoid the kinds of problems that brought about the division of the original family business are outlined. Governance and ownership issues now faced by the next generation are highlighted. The C case brings participants up-to-date with the evolution of the Richard Owens family's first constitution and governance policies implemented to help protect the family firm for the future. The D case presents the next step in family and company governance, highlighting the most recent family constitution dated November 2002.

Ward, John L. and Colleen Lief. 2006. Lee Kum Kee Co. Ltd (B): Passing Down the Recipe. Lausanne: IMD Case Collection.

The B-case of this two-part series examines the 5th generation’s interest in and engagement with the company and prospects for the future of family leadership. Establishment of critical governance structures, preparation for periods of non-family management and mechanisms for formal and informal next generation education are key issues.

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2004. Succession and Continuity for Johnson Family Enterprises (B). Case 5-104-013(B) (KEL123).

Case A shows the options that exist for a successful transition of leadership from one generation to the next, based on a family's and company's unique history, structures and players. Case B shows successful leadership as a fluid, interactive process matching individual desires and potential with strategic business goals and opportunities.

Ward, John and Carrie Meek. 2005. Fel-Pro (A): A Five-Generation Winning Workplace. Case 5-105-001(A) (KEL118).

A successful, multi-generation manufacturing family business, with progressive human resource policies, weighs the pros and cons to family owners and company employees of selling the business in order to meet the challenge of global competition.

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2016. Plymouth Tube Company: How to Build Ownership Consensus. Case 5-214-250.

Plymouth Tube, a family business, was a manufacturer of precision tubing and extruded shapes for aerospace, desalination, medical, mining, energy, and water industries globally. Founded in 1924, as of 2012 it employed 770 people at thirteen plants in seven U.S. states and had sales of about $240 million. The family had twenty members across three generations, including spouses. The board was composed of eight members, three from the family and five who were independent. Stacy, age 30, was the only fifth-generation family member working for the company. Her father, Van, age 64 and a fourth-generation member, had been in the business for forty years and had succeeded his father as president, CEO, and chairman.

In early 2013, management presented a very large expansion project that was riskier than previous recent investments to the board, and requested the board's approval. Independent board members asked Van to obtain feedback from the family about the proposal. Van asked Stacy to direct the process for informing the family, asking for their input, and communicating it back to the board.

How should Stacy conduct the process? What should be done with the information once it has been gathered? Should family members be involved in this type of business decision? Based on the information given in the case, is this a good investment?

Ward, John and Christina N Goletz. 2004. Clemens Family Corporation (A): The Struggle from Family First to Business First. Case 5-104-012(A) (KEL115).

Case A shows how a regional family company, threatened by national competition, needs to make changes to its structure and way of doing business or face extinction or sale. Case B shows the steps the business takes to make it succeed, including restructuring that involves eliminating long-time family managers and planning for succession. Case C shows post-transition successes and areas that still need work.

Ward, John, Sachin Waikar and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2009. Culture and Compensation: Considering Performance and Variable Pay at SRF Limited . Case 5-109-004 (KEL445).

When a consultant recommends an overhaul of the HR compensation practices that the family business is known for and prizes, what should be the next steps?

Ward, John. 2007. Star Machining Services, Inc.. Case 5-307-500 (KEL372).

Six siblings with equal ownership conflict with each other depending on their roles as owners and/or owner managers. In this case, students will learn to clarify roles of ownership in terms of active/inactive in the business.

Ward, John, Carol Adler Zsolnay and Sachin Waikar. 2016. How to Motivate the Fifth Generation? Balancing Engagement and Entitlement at Lee Kum Kee. Case 5-214-251 (KEL949).

In mid-2013, the Lee family, which owned the Hong Kong–based food and health product giant Lee Kum Kee (LKK), struggled with how best to increase involvement of the fifth generation (G5), the children of the company's current fourth-generation (G4) senior executives and governance leaders. Only two of the fourteen G5 members had joined the company, and few had expressed interest in further involvement, including in the multiple learning and development programs the business offered, such as a mentoring program. Many of the G5 cousins had expressed little interest in business careers in general, and none of them currently was serving as an LKK intern. G4 members observed that their children were busy with family obligations, hobbies, and emerging careers outside the business. G5's lack of interest in business and governance roles was part of a growing pattern of low family engagement in general, exhibited by the cancellation of recent family retreats (once an annual tradition) because of apathy and some underlying conflict. A history of splits among past generations of the Lee family regarding business leadership made the engagement issue even more meaningful and critical.

Students will consider the challenge from the point of view of G4 family members David Lee, chairman of the family's Family Office, and his sister, Elizabeth Mok, who ran the Family Learning and Development Center. They and their three siblings saw engaging the next generation as a top priority, one related to key concepts including family-business continuity, generational engagement and empowerment, succession, emotional ownership, and intrinsic/extrinsic motivation.

Ward, John and Susan Perricelli. 2005. Magid Glove and Safety Manufacturing. Case 5-404-760 (KEL120).

Based on this multi-generation family business' history, strategy, governance, and market, what does the future hold for the business and the family's involvement in it? Can succession work with co-CEOs?

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2010. Keddeg Company (C): March–December 2008: From Go-Go Succession to Non-Family Sale. Case 5-107-012(C) (KEL480).

A married couple who have a successful industrial B2B business evaluate whether or not to sell the business to two of their offspring, who are both entrepreneurial MBA graduates. Complicating factors include the fact that the sale price and structure need to finance the couple’s retirement and give fair inheritance treatment to the remaining siblings. In addition, the father has had some health issues and the business is doing well, so there is a lot of forward momentum to sell to the next generation.

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2004. The Murugappa Group: Centuries-Old Business Heritage and Tradition. Case 5-104-011 (KEL121).

A successful five-generation family business group in India separates its ownership role from its operational management role to meet the needs of a more global economy. This includes hiring professional non-family managers of business units and including non-family directors on the corporate board.

Ward, John. 2009. Technical Note: Ten Secrets of Successful Business Families . Case 7-309-500 (KEL460).

This technical note is a descriptive list of factors that are present in large, successful, long-term and/or multi-generation family businesses.

Ward, John, Suren Mansinghka, Bhaskar Sambamurthy and Elyssa Tran. 2006. The Harilela Empire: An Indian Family Business in Hong Kong. Case 5-405-757 (KEL249).

A second-generation, multi-billion dollar Asian family business, run for decades by six brothers, faces issues of ownership, family employment, management, leadership, governance, and succession as it transitions to the third-generation of siblings and cousins.

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2004. Succession and Continuity for Johnson Family Enterprises (A). Case 5-104-013(A) (KEL122).

Case A shows the options that exist for a successful transition of leadership from one generation to the next, based on a family's and company's unique history, structures and players. Case B shows successful leadership as a fluid, interactive process matching individual desires and potential with strategic business goals and opportunities.

Ward, John and Brian Colton. 2004. Weston Nurseries Inc.(A). Case 5-105-002(A) (KEL147).

Brothers in a multi-generation family business engage in a power struggle and the board must decide on a new leadership strategy.

Ward, John, Brent C. Stern, Carol Adler Zsolnay and Sachin Waikar. 2016. ATF, Inc.: Fasteners and Family. Case 5-113-004 (KEL957).

The ATF case is a succinct opportunity to explore the many special features of leadership succession for a family business. In 2009 the company was passing the baton to the oldest of three sons in the second-generation family business.

ATF produced metal and plastic fasteners for, primarily, the automotive industry. ATF had grown into a company with more than $50 million in annual revenues. The company had grown in large part through alliances with other family businesses around the world. First-generation patriarch Don Surber had led the company since he acquired it in 1982. Don was known for his charismatic leadership style and his focus on driving value through a network approach.

The case traces the career paths of all three sons and looks at the succession through the eyes of the oldest son, Jason Surber. The elements, constituents, and challenges of succession are evident. The fundamental insight is that business leadership succession is far more than just passing the business leadership baton. It also requires attention to the family, the board, the whole system of external stakeholders, and the future of ownership.

The epilogue in this note covers the period from 2009 to 2012 by describing what Jason did to earn credibility, to incorporate his brothers, and to define his personal leadership philosophy and style. The epilogue thus provides students with an opportunity to consider and define their own personal philosophy of management leadership and their own style. They will see the art of melding styles from the past with their own for the future.

Ward, John and Canh Tran. 2004. Scott Family Enterprises (B): Addressing Family Goals and Visions in the Family Enterprise. Case 5-204-267(B) (KEL125).

A large family business in banking and ranching is shifting leadership to the next generation and has developed a protocol to select board members agreed upon by all. When the selection occurs, it is not made in accordance with the protocol and a third generation family member questions why the selection rules were changed by second generation members without input or vote. The case highlights the growing pains of developing fair processes and guidelines for nominating and selecting board members, meeting family expectations, communicating with constituents, and encouraging active roles in governance at the cousin-stage of a family business.

Ward, John, Sachin Waikar and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2009. Technical Note: Why Bond? The Benefits of Family Ties across Time, Space, and Generations. Case 7-309-501 (KEL459).

This technical note contains examples from other fields on the benefits of bonds of families, extended families, and communities for members of multi-generation family businesses.

Ward, John and Carrie Meek. 2005. Fel-Pro (B): After the Sale-The Lehman Family Transition. Case 5-105-001(B) (KEL119).

After the sale of their multi-generation family business, a family and business transitions. The family uses the sales contract to maintain its progressive human resource policies. The family organizes a family investment office, establishes foundations, and launches new ventures.

Ward, John and Christina N Goletz. 2004. Clemens Family Corporation (B): The Process of Change. Case 5-104-012(B) (KEL116).

Case A shows how a regional family company, threatened by national competition, needs to make changes to its structure and way of doing business or face extinction or sale. Case B shows the steps the business takes to make it succeed, including restructuring that involves eliminating long-time family managers and planning for succession. Case C shows post-transition successes and areas that still need work.

Ward, John and Brian Colton. 2004. Weston Nurseries Inc.(B). Case 5-105-002(B) (KEL148).

A non-family board member of a multi-generation family business is tapped as CEO during a leadership crisis.

Ward, John, Sachin Waikar and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2008. Families, Fortunes, and Footwear: Reaching Out to the Fourth Generation of Brazil’s Lupo S.A.. Case 5-408-753 (KEL406).

A successful third-generation family business explores whether or not to continue in business as a family into the fourth generation. If they do decide to move forward as a family business, how can they cultivate knowledge and interest among the forty-plus fourth-generation family members.

Ward, John. 2010. Technical Note: The Family Constitution. Case 7-309-502 (KEL601).

This note introduces the importance to family businesses of drafting a family constitution to maintain success and continuity of governance of the family’s enterprises. The process of family members/owners being involved in making the draft provides the most value for the enterprise, more so than the content of the finished product.

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2007. Keddeg Company (B): Twenty Months Later. Case 5-107-012(B) (KEL479).

A married couple who have a successful industrial B2B business evaluate whether or not to sell the business to two of their offspring, who are both entrepreneurial MBA graduates. Complicating factors include the fact that the sale price and structure need to finance the couple’s retirement and give fair inheritance treatment to the remaining siblings. In addition, the father has had some health issues and the business is doing well, so there is a lot of forward momentum to sell to the next generation.

Ward, John and Elly Andriopoulou. 2006. The Oberman Family and Omeda Communications Inc.. Case 5-105-003 (KEL293).

How should this successful, entrepreneurial family business plan for leadership, ownership, and governance succession to the next generation?

Ward, John and Christina N Goletz. 2004. Clemens Family Corporation (C): Post Transition (August 2001). Case 5-104-012(C) (KEL117).

Case A shows how a regional family company, threatened by national competition, needs to make changes to its structure and way of doing business or face extinction or sale. Case B shows the steps the business takes to make it succeed, including restructuring that involves eliminating long-time family managers and planning for succession. Case C shows post-transition successes and areas that still need work.

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2007. Freedom Communications, Inc: Family Enterprise or Liquidity?. Case 5-307-504 (KEL339).

A family media enterprise with very strong family culture and values is in the third and fourth generation of ownership and governance. They face a crisis when a large number of family shareholders want to cash out their shares. What led to this situation? How could it have been avoided? How should it be resolved? LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Lack of succession and liquidity planning can harm the business through generations when it becomes a crisis.

Ward, John, Susan Schwendener and Scott Whitaker. 2010. Creating a Family Business: The Genesis of Rogers Family Enterprises. Case 5-210-254 (KEL567).

Steven Rogers had always thought that someday he would like to own a business with one or both of his daughters. As his eldest daughter, Akilah, finished her final semester at Harvard Business School, she told Rogers that she would like to create with him a Chicago-based real estate venture that included buying, rehabbing and renting homes in the Englewood and South Shore neighborhoods of Chicago.
Rogers quickly realized that his biggest challenge was how to equitably structure the ownership of the business. He gathered advice from family business experts and slowly began to build a plan that would benefit each member of his family. Meanwhile, Akilah assumed responsibilities associated with the business as she finished her final semester at HBS. The case ends with Rogers Family Enterprises owning its first three houses.

Ward, John. 2017. What's in a Family Legacy? Balancing Family Emotions and Business Growth at Luse Holdings. Case 5-416-758 (KEL994).

After decades of continuity, Luse Holdings faced a new challenge in 2015. The company needed to pivot in a changing industry context—specifically, Luse had lost a bid to a non-union competitor for the first time—and CEO and fourth-generation member Steve Luse was considering three primary options: (1) continue as is, while also adding non-union services; (2) sell part of the business to reduce family risk; or (3) sell the entire business to fund other family interests. A fourth possible option was a maximization-of-growth alternative.

This decision involved more than business considerations alone. The family's legacy as an industry champion and community philanthropist also required considering all relevant stakeholders, including immediate and extended family, employees, and community. Complicating the situation was the lack of an immediately identifiable successor in the next generation of the Luse family, though several fifth-generation members had completed internships with the business—including Steve's daughter Ashley, a recent MBA graduate. Students will step into Steve's shoes as he considers what recommendations to make to the advisory board six months from now. Students can also take the perspective of Ashley, a rising next-generation member: should she join the family business?

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2005. Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family. Case 7-404-750 (KEL284).

The case looks at Thomas Mann’s fiction novel Buddenbrooks and traces the family business trajectory of the family at the center of the novel. Many family business issues are raised, including succession, intermingling of family and business money, supporting adult offspring, and competition.

Is the saying “from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves” inevitable in a multi-generation family business?

Ward, John, Carol Adler Zsolnay and Sachin Waikar. 2017. A Diamond in the Rough: J. M. Huber and the PATH Business. Case 5-416-757 (KE1002).

In late 2011, Jerry Bertram, vice president and general manager of the fire retardant additives business of Huber Engineered Materials (HEM), a division of family-owned J. M. Huber Corporation, was preparing to present the potential acquisition of the precipitated alumina trihydrate (PATH) business to the environment, health, and safety committee of Huber's corporate board. He had convinced HEM's leadership of PATH's strategic value to their business and the urgency of the acquisition based on PATH's parent company's movement into Chapter 11 bankruptcy and its plans to close the PATH plant.

Winning board approval posed a major challenge. It was unclear whether the plant would remain operational, because HEM would have to enter a shared-services arrangement with PATH's parent company, which continued to use the site. In addition, acquiring PATH would mean integrating its specialized, unionized labor force into Huber, which had very few union workers. Finally, early due diligence had revealed tens of millions of dollars of potential environmental risk on the site. The last issue was particularly critical, given Huber's generations-long history of respect for the environment, and its executives' and directors' reluctance to take on any business with excessive environmental risk.

This case illustrates in depth the family business values that can promote consideration of an ostensibly unconventional and risky strategic move, and enable executives to push for approval of the same, as backed by comprehensive risk assessment and mitigation plans.

Ward, John and Canh Tran. 2004. Scott Family Enterprises (A): Defining Fair Process for Cousin Owners. Case 5-204-267(A) (KEL124).

A large family business in banking and ranching is shifting leadership to the next generation and has developed a protocol to select board members agreed upon by all. When the selection occurs, it is not made in accordance with the protocol and a third generation family member questions why the selection rules were changed by second generation members without input or vote. The case highlights the growing pains of developing fair processes and guidelines for nominating and selecting board members, meeting family expectations, communicating with constituents, and encouraging active roles in governance at the cousin-stage of a family business.

Ward, John and Carol Adler Zsolnay. 2007. Keddeg Company (A): Succession to the Next Generation of Small Business. Case 5-107-012(A) (KEL369).

A married couple who have a successful industrial B2B business evaluate whether or not to sell the business to two of their offspring, who are both entrepreneurial MBA graduates. Complicating factors include the fact that the sale price and structure need to finance the couple’s retirement and give fair inheritance treatment to the remaining siblings. In addition, the father has had some health issues and the business is doing well, so there is a lot of forward momentum to sell to the next generation.

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