Cargill: The World's Largest Family Business - Planning for the Business, Planning for the Family

Published 22 Apr 2016
Reference 6191
Region North America
Length 7 page(s)
Language English

Founded in 1865, Cargill one of the world's largest family businesses but has faced several challenges as it transitions from generation to generation. Business succession is complicated by the involvement of two families; the Cargills and their in-laws the MacMillans. A difficult transition to an in-law in the early 1900s eventually resulted in the Cargills losing control. However, the animosity between the two families focused their attention on building a vision based on shared values of entrepreneurship, fair play and a commitment to long-term family ownership.

Teaching objectives

This case explores family business role transitions and the challenges of family investment and liquidity. It also discusses the importance of managing beyond the family, the importance of entrepreneurial innovation, and effective communication in family businesses. Finally, it demonstrates the concept of stewardship as an ownership model.

  • Family business transitions
  • Family investment
  • Stewardship
  • Non-family executives
  • Fair process
  • Communication in family business
  • Succession planning
  • Family business liquidity
  • Q31516
  • Corporate Governance
  • Corporate Governance for Family Firms
  • Succession, next generation
  • Fair process, communication, psychology, gender
  • Governance, parallel planning, strategy, boards