De Kuyper Royal Distillers: Three Centuries of Succession
(8 pages of text)
De Kuyper Royal Distillers was a 300-year-old family firm in the Netherlands and produced the largest variety of liqueurs in the world. The firm had always been owned and controlled by the De Kuyper family. In 2009, Bob de Kuyper, the 10th generation to own and run the firm, retired from his position as managing director and an outsider was brought in as the interim managing director. In January 2010, Marc de Kuyper, the eldest son of Bob de Kuyper, worked for an outside firm in a marketing position. He had a strong desire to join the family firm and was trying to decide how to convince his father, and the family firm's supervisory board, that he had the capabilities to eventually take a leadership role in the family business. Was there a future for Marc at the family firm? What could he do, if anything, in the succession process?
The students will learn:
- The need for a clear and impartial succession process within a family firm, and the role of impartial boards and external board members in family firms.
- The impact of different perspectives across generations within a family firm.
- Different types of succession models.
- The importance of a successor recognizing the iterative testing process.
This case can be used in a family business (entrepreneurship) or strategic management course. While primarily a succession case, it may also be positioned in course sections dealing with the three circle model, governance, and the role of external CEOs in family firms.
The Netherlands, 2010
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