Adam Brown and Graham Burns of FWB Park Brown recently hosted a round-table discussion over dinner in the Edinburgh office Boardroom. The purpose of the dinner was to bring together leaders of family businesses in Scotland to discuss the opportunities and threats for family businesses in Scotland and to share ideas and make new contacts. Family businesses contribute significantly to the Scottish economy and often have different requirements to other businesses, particularly when working with providers of professional services.
In attendance were:
- Simon Hannah, Chief Executive of JW Filshill, the fifth generation family-run wholesale distribution and cash and carry business which also own the retail brand “KeyStore”
- Ross Mickel, Group Director of Mactaggart & Mickel Group, the fourth generation housebuilding business, including property development, contract building and timber frame manufacturing
- Mark Williams, Chief Executive of NWH Group, the second generation waste and construction services business
- Paul Yacoubian, Chief Executive of Craig Corporate which provides private and public companies with business management, corporate finance, company turnaround and taxation services
The key take home points included:
- We had 3 fantastic examples of different ways of managing and running a family concern, but the family was important to all of the people at the dinner
- Every family dynamic is different and every family company management structure reflects this (whether with a family council, non-family executives or clear leadership in one family member)
- Successful family companies manage to find a way to pursue business objectives ahead of family issues, but also manage to provide financial rewards for the family
- Family business have similar issues and there is very little which is unique – although it often doesn’t feel that way!
- Family shareholding succession is a key issue that needs to be approached head on without avoidance
- A successful model for passing on a family business is for the next generation to buy it rather than inherit it
- Not all family members have the same views on income equity and control aspirations – this should be the source starting point of all discussions with family
For further details or to discuss any points please contact Adam or Graham on 0131 539 7087.