Family businesses play an important role in the U.S. economy. As Patricia N. Soldano points out in her article “High Hopes for New Congressional Family Business Caucus,” p. 42, they employ roughly 60% of our workers and contribute $7.7 trillion annually to our gross domestic product. Yet judging from their depiction on popular television shows like Succession and Dynasty, the members of these businesses seem concerned mostly with the best way to stab each other in the back and secretly conduct extra marital affairs. The actual running and planning for the future of the business appears to take a back seat.
But when the members of a family business aren’t busy scheming against each other or jet setting to exotic locations (as seen on TV), they’re dealing with serious issues that affect their future. As illustrated by David T. Leibell and Jacqueline B. Denton in “Estate Planning for Family Business Succession,” p. 46, families must consider complex wealth transfer techniques when planning to transfer control of a business to the next generation. In addition, Patricia M. Angus’ article, “Complex Family Enterprise,” p. 34, advises on the many possible facets of a family enterprise, including one or more operating businesses, investments and philanthropy. Family businesses must also start to assess whether they need to improve diversity to have a positive impact on their overall enterprise. “Creating Inclusive Pathways to Increase Presence of Women in Senior Roles,” p. 37, by Adrienne M. Penta and Benjamin N. Persofsky details three key factors that strongly influenced women’s paths to leadership within a family business.
On another note, I’d like to welcome two new editorial advisory board members: William Harris of Trugman Valuation Associates Inc. is a new member of our Valuations Committee, and Barbara Grayson of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is a new member of our Fiduciary Professions Committee.