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Quel est le rôle du conseil dans une entreprise familiale ?

30 juillet 2014

La gestion des entreprises familiales est un sujet qui concerne un grand nombre d’organisations, souvent très petites mais qui ont néanmoins besoin d’une certaine configuration de gouvernance. L’article de Dan Ryan, président des pratiques réglementaires à PricewaterhouseCoopers, est basé sur une publication de PwC. 

On y présente un modèle de gouvernance qui reflète l’évolution des entreprises familiales ainsi que les nombreux avantages à se doter des mécanismes de gouvernance appropriés.

Également, l’article décrit les principales réticences des entrepreneurs et des fondateurs à aller de l’avant; l’auteur tente d’apporter des réponses concrètes aux préoccupations des propriétaires-dirigeants. Enfin, l’article aborde les attentes que les entreprises doivent avoir eu égard à la mise en place d’un conseil d’administration.

Je vous invite donc à prendre connaissance de l’extrait ci-dessous et de poursuivre la lecture complète de l’article en cliquant sur le lien suivant :

What Is a Board’s Role in a Family Business?

Individual- and family-owned businesses are a vital part of our economy. If you or your family owns such a company you understand how important the company’s success is to your personal wealth and to future generations. If you’re a nonfamily executive at a family company, you also recognize that its profitability and resilience is vital to your job security and financial well-being.

We see more family companies interested in corporate governance today than we did a decade ago, as shown in changes they’ve made to their boards. While some family companies have a board only to satisfy legal compliance requirements, more are moving toward the outer rings on the family business corporate governance model, below. Ultimately, owners will choose which level best suits the company’s needs and when changing circumstances mean the company’s governance should transition to another ring.

Family Business Corporate Governance Model*

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Compliance board. While most states require companies incorporated in the state to have a board, the requirement may be as simple as a board of at least one person that meets at least once per year. A company may have only the founder on its board. In the early stages of a founder-led company, this type of board may well be the best fit for the company, since the founder is usually more focused on building the business than on governance.

Insider board. Such a board often includes family members and members of senior management. This membership can better involve the family in the business, help with succession planning, and introduce additional perspectives to board discussions. The insider board may be created by the founder—who may no longer be the CEO—or by the next generation owner(s) of the company. That said, the founder/owner(s) retain decision-making authority.

Inner circle board. In this type of board the founder/owner adds directors he or she knows well. These may include an accountant, lawyer, or other business professional that guided or influenced the company, or the founder’s close friends. These directors may bring skills or experience to the board that are otherwise missing and may be in a position to challenge the founder/owner(s) in a positive way. Such boards might create an audit committee or other committees. That said, the founder/owner(s)—who may or may not be the CEO—retains decision-making authority.

Quasi-independent board. This level introduces outside/independent directors who have no employment or other tie to the company apart from their role as a director. (See the Family Business Corporate Governance Series module Building or renewing your board for a more complete discussion of independent/outside directors.) These directors introduce objectivity and accountability to the board and they expect their input to be respected. Board processes and policies will likely become more formalized with outside/independent directors on the board. The number of committees may increase. This outermost ring on the family business corporate governance model is most similar to governance at a public company.

59% of CEOs and CFOs of 147 family-owned/owner-operated companies report having a “formal board of directors that acts on behalf of company owners to oversee the business and management,” per a PwC 2013 survey.

We recognize that governance at any family company will be determined almost exclusively by what the founder (or family members who control the company) wants. You may have a compliance board or an inner circle board—and those may be entirely appropriate for where your company is at present. We’ve seen numerous family companies that benefited greatly from moving toward the outer rings in the governance model—especially when anticipating a generational transition.

In this post, we’ll help you understand how to build an effective board for your family company, and how boards can assist with some of the particularly challenging issues family companies face. This first module discusses why you might want to evolve or change your governance model and what you could expect from a board if you do so.

Each family company’s situation is unique and we can’t address every scenario. Our goal is to provide a framework of how corporate governance practices apply to family companies so you can decide what’s best for you.

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* Some companies also have an Advisory Board to advise management (and directors). Advisory Board members don’t vote or have fiduciary responsibilities.

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