Family business governance

Supporting your family’s legacy with sound governance

Professionalizing your family enterprise board

We see more family businesses interested in corporate governance today than we did a decade ago, as shown in changes they’ve made to their boards and results from our Family Business Survey. Establishing a board of directors provides a more formal method for governing and controlling the business. A board can help provide formal structures and processes so that the family continues to make effective decisions.


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 private board governance framework


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Jonathan  Flack

Jonathan Flack

US Family Enterprises Leader, PwC US

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