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case

Family Business Succession in Asia

Marleen Dieleman, Jonathan Ho Wye Kit EDUCATOR COPY TEACHING NOTE SHARE Organizational behavior, Emerging markets, International business, Leadership, Family businesses, Strategy The Wang Group was created by Alfred Wang in Hong Kong after fleeing China during the turbulence that marked the beginning of the communist regime. After successfully building up the diversified trading business and expanding to various other Asian countries, in 1995, the business was taken over by his second son, Charles Wang, a charismatic leader. Charles wished to create a more sustainable family business, tuned in to today's global trends, and run by non-family members. To this end, Charles hired an outside CEO to implement his vision after implementing a far-reaching corporate change program. The global economic crisis that started in 2008, however, caught the company halfway through the reorganization, and brought losses and the departure of the newly hired CEO. Charles Wang had no other option than to again take up the top job himself, and had to reconsider the path towards a sustainable future for the family firm. Learning Objective The objective of the case is to understand salient issues related to the transition of a family firm towards a professionally managed entity. The case can be used to discuss this from the following angles:Succession and leadership of family firms: As the Wang Group develops into a billion-dollar group, the firm's owner attempts, on one hand, to influence the organization and, on the other hand, to step back and allow a hired CEO to implement his vision. The unsuccessful first attempt towards family firm professionalization allows students to understand the mutual responsibilities of family owners and non-family managers, and to appreciate the difficulties families face when transforming the firm from family-run to family-owned and professionally-run. This case is particularly useful to highlight characteristics of Asian family firms.Change management: The Wang Group is experiencing a profound strategic change process as the second generation leader takes over. Charles Wang tries to instill family values and prepare the firm for a sustainable future. The case allows students to see how business development and family leadership are intertwined, and subsequently assess what type of leadership is necessary to take over after the change process. Details Pub Date: Apr 4, 2012 Discipline: Organizational Behavior Subjects: Organizational behavior, Emerging markets, International business, Leadership, Family businesses, Strategy Source: Ivey Publishing Product #: W12853-PDF-ENG Industry: Retail trade Geography: Asia Length: 8 page(s)