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Management process

The transfer of management generally includes four steps1 : thinking about how continuity is handled, choosing and preparing the successor, co-management of the company, and the exit of the owner-manager.

Thinking about how continuity is handled

Choosing and preparing
the successor

Co-management of the company

Exit of the

  • During the first step, the owner-manager starts thinking about the possible scenarios he sees as assuring the continuity of his company. Some start the process early, some much later. Many use the services of strategic planning experts and human resource management experts to help them through this step.
  • During the second step, the owner-manager sets out his criteria for choosing the person or people who will succeed him and identifies those people who fit the criteria. Next the owner-manager establishes a plan aiming to prepare the successor and executes the plan.
  • During the co-management of the company, the owner-manager and the successor evolve together within the business to achieve the transfer or knowledge, know-how, skills, and power.
  • Over the course of the fourth step, the exit, the owner-manager steps back, either progressively or immediately, depending on his interests and capacities.

This model was developed on the basis of field studies and establishes a compelling summary of what was observed. All evidence points to the fact that the duration of each of these steps varies according to the circumstances. For example, in the case of a transfer outside the family that does not involve any company management, the steps dealing with the choice and the preparation of the successor, as well as the joint management of the company, can happen very quickly, and sometimes might not even occur.  The owner-manager's exit might also occur over a very short period of time.


1) Hugron, Pierre. « L'entreprise familiale. Modèle de réussite du processus successoral », Institut des recherches politiques et Presses HEC, Montréal, 1991, XVII, 155 p.