Succession plans can be designed to very individual specifications depending on the starting scenario, the time horizon and the personal requirements of those involved. Through their agility and expertise, private equity companies can provide the necessary flexibility for a succession plan. In order to enter into a successful partnership, it is vital to develop a viable vision together with the owners and operational management and then to implement this resolutely.
Flexibility is a key success factor when it comes to company handovers. In addition to the operational requirements, an experienced private equity partner can also zone in on the different individual expectations that an entrepreneur may have in the handover phase as regards shareholding percentages or reinvestments. Ideal succession plans are the result of focused preparation and professional implementation. Accordingly, it is worthwhile starting early and taking careful steps to identify the right succession partner.
SEG CASE STUDY
With 6,500 students, the Swiss Education Group (SEG) is the leading group of hotel management schools, with locations in Western Switzerland, Valais and Lucerne. The cornerstone was laid in 1982 by company founder Dr Andreas Künzli, who built up the group continually from that point onwards. The first exchange of ideas with INVISION took place in 2004 while succession plans were being introduced. Over the next four years, a vision and strategy were developed jointly, culminating in INVISION taking over a majority shareholding in 2008. However, Andreas Künzli remained very much involved in SEG in his role as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Since INVISION came on board in 2008, SEG has evolved strategically and become gradually more profitable. In addition to a number of important acquisitions, the company built up a strong sales mainstay in China and set up its own offices in the North and South American markets. INVISION oversaw the company’s growth ambitions closely and expanded the management team regularly. This allowed Andreas Künzli to withdraw gradually and to reduce his involvement on the board of directors. To this day, he is still an active shareholder in SEG and, eleven years after introducing his own succession plan, can see with satisfaction how prosperous and independent the company has become.
SEG is just one of over 50 examples of how continued operation and capital succession have been regulated together with INVISION in a spirit of partnership. We would also be very interested in talking to you about any plans you might have for a personal succession plan.