For the first time in its 212-year history, the Rothschild banking dynasty has appointed a non-family member as chief executive. Although unusual for the Rothschild’s family business, non-family leadership is not uncommon within family owned companies. Recently, the Family Business Alliance hosted an event focused on this topic.
The FBA panel included non-family leaders of West Michigan family-owned businesses: Franco Bianchi, CEO of Haworth, and Robert Bockheim, president of Nucraft. It also included Jim Zawacki Jr., son of Jim Zawacki Sr., CEO and owner of Grand Rapids Spring and Stamping. Zawacki represented the family perspective, particularly that of “next generation” leadership within a family business reporting to a non-family president. The discussion was facilitated by Roger Jansen, CEO of Thinkwise and family business advisor, and focused on benefits and challenges associated with non-family leaders in family businesses.