In a frank and intimate narrative style, members of the Levy family and their non-family CEO discuss the future of their family business. Roger Levy, founding entrepreneur and chairman of Ilapak, a packaging machine manufacture, has reached retirement age, but is not sure if his son, Guy, or daughter, Sabrina, are prepared to take his place. Luciano, the CEO, shares his insights as a non-family executive. Guy and Sabrina talk about their own hopes and concerns. This case allows students to consider leadership, succession and life-cycle transition issues that are common, but often unaddressed, in all family firms.
By focusing on personal narratives, this case goes beyond typical strategic and financial issues. This case provides material for discussions around the character and leadership style of the founding entrepreneur; life-cycle and business cycle transitions; psychodynamic issues in family firms; and a family systems approach to business challenges.