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The Successor’s Voice

Leadership lessons learned as a successor to a family-in-business.

The Successor’s Voice is a practical guide for family members succeeding to ownership of a family business, either taking over ownership directly or joining as manager and heir apparent. It is written from the perspective of an author who has himself had senior roles in a large and successful family business, who set up a non-profit to support successors and now advises and supports others taking on similar roles in their own family businesses.

The Successor’s Voice is written by a successor for successors to families-in-business, to fill the gap in the knowledge and practical advice for successful succession for and from the point of view of the individual successor. The aim of this book is to explore and address the question “What should they know of succession, who only succession know?”

See below for an outline of the contents of the book. Detailed contents by chapter, may be obtained by clicking on the button below.

Content Overview

  • Chapter 1 A Successor by any other name: defines the position and concerns of the family business successor and how this term extends beyond the narrower term of ‘next generation’.

  • Chapter 2 What Life Expects: explains the possibilities and constraints to being a successor to a family-in-business and illustrates how this ‘impact of ownership’ influences key decisions.

  • Chapter 3 Value to the (Family) Company: explains and illustrates the concept of successor value to the family company, as the key consideration for involvement.

  • Chapter 4 Your Career is your own (almost): identifies and elaborates on ‘key-watch-outs’ as successors commit to and develop a management career in their family business.

  • Chapter 5  Are you Credible?: explains credibility and outlines five types of successor ‘tests’ – based on first-hand experience – used to evaluate suitability to lead now and in the future.

  • Chapter 6  Design Your Support: underscores the need for successors to set-up their own feedback and support and identifies a number of practical ways to do this.

  • Chapter 7  Your Identity in Transition: explains how a career in a family business may become derailed and offers practical device on what to do if and when it does.

  • Chapter 8  Cultivate Your Talent: elaborates on the ways to prepare the next generation of successors for ownership and the development of leadership talent within the family.

  • Chapter 9  Now Leadership: identifies how pro-active families govern the development of family talent while other families resist the development of leadership within the family.

  • Chapter 10 The Successor’s Voice: pulls the content from the preceding chapters together and presents a step-wise framework for successor leadership development both as a resource for individual successors and as a guide for families-in-business to prioritise, resource and ‘do’ this vital area

Endorsements for ‘The Successor’s Voice’.

“Philip listens. Having walked the road of succession, and counselled many others, he is an astute and wise observer of people. The Successor’s Voice distils down his empathy and wisdom in a considered, practical, way.”

Col Campbell, 2nd generation successor. Chair of the Board, Bewley’s Ltd., Ireland.


“A worthy book from one who has truly lived family business and succession. It is filled with great questions and ideas that all contending with succession should consider. Philip Mackeown is a complete thinker with sound advice, and I am glad to have this work in my library!”

Joe Astrachan, Family Business Fellow, Smith Family Business Initiative at Cornell University, Board Chair and Founder, Generation6, Family Enterprise Advisors, USA.


“Being a successor in a family business is largely an inherited condition. This book is chock full of information and ideas based on the author’s lived experience that will help all successors understand the challenge of finding their authentic voice. It will also be very useful for relatives, colleagues and advisers who are willing to provide practical support for successors.”

Ken McCracken. International Family Enterprise Consultant, UK.