Transition to Private Equity Partnership

"The transition of a family-owned and operated business to private equity ownership can be sensitive and requires a thoughtful and decisive leader who has high emotional intelligence, fits the organization's culture, and respects the company history while balancing shareholder needs."

Our client, a Midwest based private equity group, recently acquired a portfolio company and retained us to conduct a CEO search as part of the transition. The company was family owned and operated and the sale was part of a two-year transition process, over the course of which the family owners would phase out and retire. Our mission was to secure a highly-credible industry CEO to work collaboratively with the family and employees during the transition to new ownership, while maintaining a cohesive culture and strategically creating shareholder value.

We began our process by consulting with the current CEO and private equity group to gain extensive knowledge of the business, industry dynamics and outlook, in addition to the organizational structure, business objectives, culture and team dynamics. We focused on understanding the organization's history or "story" to develop position specifications and qualifications before performing deep industry research to identify all prospective candidates and referral sources. After going-to-market, screening, and interviewing many qualified professionals, we ultimately presented the top CEO candidates to our client for consideration. The family and private equity group unanimously agreed on a particular CEO candidate to lead the business after several rounds of tactful interviews and assessments. We led negotiations, representing the best interest of both the client and candidate to find a successful and meaningful outcome that aligned all parties on future equity creation.

The transition of a family-owned and operated business to private equity ownership can be sensitive and requires a thoughtful and decisive leader who has high emotional intelligence, fits the organization's culture, and respects the company history while balancing shareholder needs. We completed the process after selecting a CEO who had a history of professionalizing and growing organizations, plus experience working in family and private equity-owned companies with geographic ties to the area; not to mention industry-specific expertise. We are proud to report that the new CEO has bonded with the family and allowed them to transition out of the business, while at the same time working closely with the private equity group to execute on strategic growth initiatives and lead the company into the future!

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