Partly thanks to their focus on the long term, the numerous family businesses in the Netherlands are the backbone of the Dutch economy. In many family businesses, succession is an important issue. Board members from the family and externally hired directors are often closely connected with the company and start considering their succession at a relatively late stage. For example, it is no longer a matter of course that the children take over at the helm.
Poorly organised governance and corporate financing – for example by retaining loyal but now unproductive employees, can threaten continuity. ‘Was sich liebt das neckt sich’ is a popular saying in the country renowned for its many family businesses, Germany. Family quarrels can be the downfall of companies or at least severely hamper their development. Stewardship is fine, but it can have a paralysing effect on crucial innovation and development. Increasingly, well reputed managers and supervisors are sought ‘from outside’, with specific expertise relating to modern effective organisational forms, new financing techniques, new ideas and the development of potential and talent in their own ranks. In its 43 years’ existence, Maes & Lunau has supported many families and generations, focusing on medium-sized, internationally operating family businesses in the manufacturing industry, agricultural sector and food industry.