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Succeeding as CFO in a Family Business


Discussion Leaders

  • Rick Allen, Managing Partner, Great Hill Advisors
  • Ramsey Goodrich, Managing Partner, Carter Morse & Goodrich


Family businesses have been employers of choice for generations of financial executives. They are viewed as more benevolent, personal, stable and loyal than their corporate counterparts. Unfortunately, this view is clouded by the reality that a great many marriages between financial executives and family businesses fail to flourish. This is often attributed to the financial executive not understanding the goals of the business or their inability to navigate the complex and multi-generational family dynamics.

This session was an open, free-flowing discussion of ideas and best practices amongst peers. The conversation was steered by our discussion leaders, Rick Allen and Ramsey Goodrich, who have had significant success in the family business CFO role and in advising successful family business CFOs. Questions addressed included:

  • How to get the family aligned on the goals of the CFO?
  • Do outside parties (banks, investors & customers) view the CFO as an independent party or as an extension of the family? Either way, what is the impact of this?
  • What are the differences between being a CFO for a family business vs. an investor-owned enterprise (PE or other)?
  • Are you focusing too much on “family office” responsibilities and is that preventing you from contributing to the growth of the primary family business?
  • How to address conflict and achieve consensus within the family?
  • What are the personality traits needed from the CFO to be successful?
  • How quickly can you bring about desired change?
  • How to remain relevant with the next generation?

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