Simpson Seeds: Growing the Next Generation
(9 pages of text)
Greg Simpson was the chief executive officer of Simpson Seeds Inc. (SSI). He and his two brothers, second-generation owners of a family farm, had started the seed company. From humble beginnings in Moose Jaw, SSI had grown to be the largest privately owned lentil exporter and seed retailer in Saskatchewan, Canada, distributing pulses to nearly 80 countries worldwide. Simpson and his brothers had recently added a new red lentil–splitting plant to the family business; however, the new plant required leadership. The brothers were also considering how to continue the family legacy. Transitioning management and leadership of SSI would not be easy. Five of nine cousins from the third generation worked at SSI. Would the new plant be the ideal launching pad for the third generation, allowing them to learn how to lead and manage a segment of the family business? Simpson and his brothers were scheduled to meet on Monday, when Simpson was to deliver a proposal for succession planning.
This case can be used in a family business, entrepreneurship, strategic management, or leadership course at the undergraduate or graduate level. While primarily a succession case, it may also be positioned in course sections dealing with the three-circle model, leadership, and the role of advisors in family firms. Using this case will allow students to do the following:
- Appreciate the significance of having (1) regular family meetings, (2) independent members on a board, and (3) a strategic plan to help families succeed at succession planning.
- Be cautious about adopting a belief system that prohibits family members who do not work in the family business from becoming owners.
- Explore the role and benefits of non-active shareholders in the family business.
- Understand the differences between ownership and management succession.
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
Canada, Small, 2015
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