Family Business Center

Celebrating 25 Years

Leadership Transition – Handing over the Reins

Family Business Breakfast Series


This event took place October 31, 2014

After years of running a family business, how do you determine the right time to transition out of the leadership role? Stepping down can be a very complicated matter, raising more questions than answers:

  • What do incoming and outgoing leaders need to do before the transition?
  • What implications will this have on the family? The business?
  • What does “retirement” for the outgoing leader look like?

Hear from successful family businesses that have gone through leadership transitions. Learn lessons from their experiences, goals they set for the final years running the business, what the years after stepping down look like, and what family members and business advisers did to make it a smooth transition.

Keeping family businesses viable across generations isn’t easy. Only 30 percent survive to the second generation and just 12 percent to the third. After this discussion, your family will be better prepared to transition the company at the time that’s best for the business and the family, and lay groundwork for future generations to come.


Gunnar Electric
Lois Walters purchased Gunnar Electric in 1987. The company provides commercial, industrial and residential electrical contracting throughout Minnesota. In 2005, two of Lois’ children, Laura and Terry, joined the company full-time. The family’s transition to the second generation started in 2009. Laura and Terry purchased the company from Lois in March 2013. Laura is the President and CEO while Lois is enjoying part-time retirement.

Logistics Planning Services
In 1987 Larry Hall launched Logistics Planning Services, providing freight management & logistics software solutions to a variety of global industries. Larry’s son, Justin Hall, one of four family members in the business, joined the company in 2006. He was named president in 2010, when Larry started his two year transition into his role of chairman of the board. Larry continues to support the company through its rapid expansion, with branch offices in in the United States and Europe, a long way from the two chairs and small desk the company was started with.

Risdall Advertising Agency
Founding Chairman John Risdall started Risdall Advertising Agency in 1972. It’s grown into the eighth largest advertising agency in the Twin Cities, working with a clientele ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. John’s son Ted, one of eight family members in the business, joined the company full time in 1993, becoming president in 2002. The family is going through its transition to the second generation of leadership, recently naming Ted chairman and CEO. John Risdall continues his work with the agency as the Founding Chairman, a consultant and community ambassador.


Event Details:
Friday, October 31, 7:30 a.m.

University of St. Thomas
Opus College of Business
1000 LaSalle Ave
Opus Hall
Room 201/202
Minneapolis, MN 55403

A note to family business advisors: The breakfast series is restricted to members of family businesses.