While leveraged ESOPs can be complex, the transactions can give family business owners cash toward retirement, while providing tax benefits and incentivizing employees at the same time, according to Zaiman. Numerous questions came from one attendee at the ESOP session who disclosed that his seventh generation family business is considering an ESOP transaction to transfer a portion of the ownership of the family business to the employees. Sometimes the next generation isn’t ready to take over top leadership posts when the time for transition comes along. At least, not yet. At Gilbane Building Co., William Gilbane Jr. notes that the fifth generation isn’t yet ready for top leadership roles of CEO and COO. But his daughter Catherine “Kitty” Gilbane, who copresented with him, serves as inside sales manager and is very active in the business. In the meantime, the company’s strategy is to identify non-family members currently employed to fill the CEO and COO roles when it’s time for the fourth generation to bow out. Accountability is Key In the session “Growth and Change to Keep Your Business Moving Forward,”
Panelists David Shore, left, and Ashley Hague.
Carolyn Crowley Stimson, vice president of resort services at Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, and a member of the Crowley family that founded Worcester-based Polar Beverages, talked of business face-offs that have included tree-sitting protesters at Wachusett Mountain and a large competitor in the soft-drink business buying a quantity of Polar Beverages’ product and running over it with a tank at a company rally. She said that her father, whose third generation had experienced more than its share of internal discord running the company, had always taught her and her three brothers that the family is stronger as a unit. It would have to be – both Wachusett Mountain and Polar
From left: Steve Simon, founder and buyer, National Jean Co.; Jill Simon, co-owner, client relations, National Jean Co.; Al Rose, owner, Red Apple Farm; and Daniel Guglielmo, private wealth planner and founder, TrustDesign.
Beverages are woven tightly into the fabric of Central Massachusetts. Their constituencies have great expectations of the businesses’ roles as corporate citizens. Jeff Crowley, president of the ski area and Carolyn’s brother, said it’s less important for advancing executives to make decisions than it is for them to have the right tools to make the decisions. He recalls his father, Ralph Crowley Sr., would sometimes walk out of the room from a family business meeting in mid-session, which Jeff interpreted as a symbolic communication to the next generation that he would not always be there. Continued on page 10
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Published on Jun 21, 2013