Lacoste, an internationally renowned leisurewear brand, was a company owned by the family, having been founded in 1933 by legendary tennis player Rene Lacoste.
It hit crisis in 2012 over a feud within the family, despite a strong recent history in terms of business management. Indeed, the company had successfully recovered from a mini-crisis of brand prestige in the late 1980s/early 1990s.
Handling successions posed particular challenges. There was a difficult, but ultimately effective succession from 2nd generation Bernard to his brother Michel in 2005, then an unsuccessful handover to 3rd generation Philippe in 2008-2009. Another feature was the relatively high influence of family members with inherited shares and relatively little knowledge of the business. The constitution was not updated after its drafting in 1986.
- To understand the importance of strong rules for governance, and development of professional ownership through education, within a family-owned business.
- To explore whether a sense of entitlement through possession of the family name can undermine the principles of good governance. The importance of planning and executing succession at the senior level of a family firm is also to the fore.