Family business governance

Supporting your family’s legacy with sound governance

PwC’s holistic approach to governance

PwC sees governance as a web of relationships, not just between a company and its family shareholders, but between a company and a broad range of stakeholders that includes shareholders, family, employees, customers, suppliers, and the community at large. Developing an effective governance structure for the family and the business creates a coordinated way for stakeholders to involve themselves in decisions and activities that affect their lives. It also promotes meaningful participation for sustaining commitment to the family’s legacy and unity among all stakeholders. Our proprietary framework considers the following elements as part of your company’s governance program:

  • Management and control structure
  • Supervisory board
  • Remuneration
  • Dividend policy
  • Board structure
  • Board members and alignment
  • Governance effectiveness
  • Branch vs. family organization
  • Family/Owner council
  • Family education
  • Family employment policy
  • Family management
  • Conflict management

Board governance

Family businesses typically adopt more enhanced governance as they grow and become more complex. Governance helps to effectively and efficiently oversee and manage the family business while keeping an eye on strategic growth. Taking steps to create a family business board can make a big impact on the quality of oversight and planning for the future. In assessing your board governance practices, PwC can help explore the following questions, and more:

  • What is good governance and what does it look like?
  • How should the board’s role and responsibilities evolve?
  • What do boards need to know now?
  • What should the board focus on in the future?
  • What levers does the board need to push or pull to be in line with its peers?

Using our board governance framework, we’ll help you structure your board, define roles and responsibilities and establish board policies and procedures. We’ll also help you recruit a mix of independent directors and provide the necessary training to ensure all board members can meet their responsibilities.

PwC's board governance framework

How we have helped others

Board effectiveness

Enhancing family business governance

Co-owners (and siblings) of a family business asked for help with the business dynamics, improving family relationships and providing a plan for getting the next generation involved. We helped them create a board of directors with non-family participants, a family charter and governance structure that included a family council, and employment parameters for the family.

Board's role in strategy

Assessing board effectiveness

A family’s board chair engaged PwC to perform an assessment of its board and committee practices, priorities and issues. Our team reviewed board governance documentation and met with key stakeholders to create actionable recommendations and tools to ensure they were consistent with industry and leading practices, including a formal board and committee self-assessment process.

Board talent recruitment

Recruiting new board talent

Our team worked with a family business to identify outside board members to serve on their company’s board of directors. We helped the company assess their current board composition, identify the skills needed on the board, create director profiles for new board seats, and develop a process for recruiting new members to fill identified gaps.


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