Generational Transition for a Private Family-Owned Business

Business Case

The father and two sons of a $3 million family-owned business wanted to have a smooth and effective transition from one generation to the next. 

The company was a second-generation, family-owned business where multiple members from the second and third generations were involved. The company enjoyed a reputation for quality products and responsive service, and everyone wanted to ensure that this reputation would continue. The goal was to have the family members who were active in the business either occupy roles that played to their strengths and allow them to advance the company, or exit the business completely.

The family members needed to develop a buy/sell agreement to control and direct the stock between stockholders and the company from one generation to the next. They also needed to identify and develop talent at the third generation, providing opportunities for them to grow and add value to the business.

In addition, they needed to develop an infrastructure to support this growth without creating conflict or putting the business or family relationships in jeopardy.

CMA conducted an intergenerational transition process, conducting developmental assessments of potential successors and family employees, in conjunction with coaching and leadership development of the third generation.


Based on work with the company over several years, a buy/sell agreement was put in place. The roles and responsibilities were defined for some family members, while others pursued opportunities outside the family business. In addition, the newly developed next generation stepped up in terms of their leadership and strategic contribution to the business. Over a matter of 13 years, the company increased 13-fold in terms of revenue and increased its profit margins.