Some corporate heirs deliver a competitive advantage for their family group

Professor Denise Kenyon-Rouvinez in the Financial Times

In the lore of family businesses, the unworthy heir is a recurring theme. Weak-chinned wonders are promoted to the top job when their far more capable parents retire or die, only to pursue a strategy that gradually wrecks everything the family built, while long-serving staff mutter “I told you so”.

People trust family businesses significantly more than they trust business in general, according to an opinion poll by Edelman. More than twice as many people want to work for them as do not — and are more committed. Customers will pay more for their products.

But they shudder when introduced to Junior and his siblings. Nearly two-thirds believe the next generation will mismanage the company and just over half of family business employees think scions are less talented than their forebears.

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