FFI Intelligence Matters



Intelligence Matters is a series of interviews conducted by Paul Karofsky, Chair of the Family Business Advisory Committee of the Family Firm Institute.  Each interview features a compelling discussion on a critical topic of timely relevance with the unique perspective of family enterprise leaders from around the globe.  Click on the title to go to conversation.


Volume I, Number I April, 2009

Leadership Dynamics of the Family Enterprise
When the CEO is Not in the Family

A conversation with
John Huber, President & CEO
Radiator Specialty Company
Charlotte, NC

The challenges for a non-family member CEO in a family enterprise can be intense.  In this interview with Paul Karofsky, John Huber, non-family member President and CEO of Radiator Specialty Company, discusses with candor how he addresses a full range of issues.  This discussion highlights the opportunities that a non-family member key executive can offer the family and the business.  As John tells us, it’s all about chemistry and the alignment of values and vision.  But as we soon learn, the ultimate test of a non-family CEO in a family business is his ability to balance “the ambitions of the family with the needs of the business.”


Volume I, Number II July, 2009

How Crane & Company Used Legacy Values to Transform an Iconic American Brand

A conversation with
Lansing Crane, Former Chairman and CEO
Crane & Company, Inc.
Dalton, Massachusetts

The challenges for families to maintain and perpetuate a legacy brand over multiple generations of ownership can be immense. Transformation can be difficult but also rewarding. The current economic climate has compelled many family businesses to reconfigure their operations in response to heightened competition, employing creative solutions for sustaining the enterprise.

In this interview with Paul Karofsky, Lansing Crane, a sixth-generation member of the distinguished Crane family, chronicles his family’s journey in preserving the enduring values that have made Crane & Company one of America’s iconic brands while propelling it into a 21st century global enterprise. Lanse discusses how success today requires preserving inherited company values and history balanced with the courage to stretch comfort zones. He also stresses blending outside talent with inside family expertise; adopting world-class business practices; and embracing reasonable risk – all while committing to continuous shareholder value creation.


Volume I, Number III October, 2009

How One Family’s Priority on Innovation Became a Global Mission

A conversation with
Joaqu’n Uriach, Secretary of the Board of Directors
Grupo Uriach
Barcelona, Spain

There are distinctive differences among pharmaceutical manufacturers, especially when European companies are compared to those anchored in the U.S. But any initial comparison will only scratch the surface. In addition to widely varying operating arenas, business practices and cultural traditions, European pharmaceutical companies have among them more family-owned entities.

One of the oldest and most successful European pharmaceutical companies is Grupo Uriach, a benchmark standard for competitive sustainability in an industry characterized by uncommon levels of risk and financial challenge. What is the secret to such longevity? In this conversation with FFI’s Paul Karofsky, 5th generation sibling Joaqu’n Uriach outlines how the company has achieved success from the family’s entrepreneurial spirit, vision, and clearly articulated values as well as its orientation toward meeting patient needs as a mission rather than a business.


Volume II, Number I January, 2010

Successfully Managing Risk in the Contemporary Family Enterprise

A panel discussion with:
FFI’s Family Business Advisory Committee

Including Leaders of Nine Marquee Family Businesses:
Avedis Zildjian Company, Crane & Co., El Paso Advisors, Gottesman Properties, Grupo Lando, Haws Corporation, King Ranch, Lacaze Consulting Group, and Radiator Specialty Company.

Moderated by
Paul Karofsky, Founder & Principal
Transition Consulting Group, Inc.
Palm Beach Gardens, FL

As the economic recovery begins to take shape, uncertainty and volatility continue to permeate the business landscape. While family businesses remain a key driver of global economic growth, they nevertheless must seek effective methods for accessing and managing risk. The contemporary family enterprise is challenged to employ the best strategies for sustaining competitive viability while world economies wrestle with the fallout of contraction and re-orientate for recovery amidst the ongoing impact of globalization.

Last September, while leading practitioners, advisors, educators, and researchers in the global family business and family wealth fields gathered in New York City for FFI’s annual International Conference, FFI’s Family Business Advisory Committee convened a panel to offer a timely examination of risk from their perspective as leaders of marquee family businesses.

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