Founders, fathers and daughters

Having the great pleasure of working with my daughter “Kat” made me greatly appreciate this article!

Founders, fathers and daughters
By Chris Tighe

Conversation flows effortlessly between John Elliott and Pamela Petty, as they talk in the boardroom at Ebac, a family-run manufacturer in north east England. They pick up each other’s points and explore tangential thoughts in easy exchange.

It is like listening to a family chat. And in a sense it is, because Mr Elliott and Ms Petty are father and daughter, as well as leading a team that aims to treble Ebac’s £20m an­nual turnover by reviving UK production of chest freezers and washing machines.

“Your strengths are more of an engineering background, mine are more business [and] numbers,” says Ms Petty, 46-year-old managing director and financial director, to Mr Elliott, 70-year-old chairman and founder. Product development is where Mr Elliott’s strengths lie, she says. “We think the best ideas come from dad.”

Mr Elliott, whose technical expertise made Ebac an early entrant into the dehumidifier and water cooler sectors in the 1970s, looks pensive: “I recognise I’m not a very good manager. I don’t finish things off.”

Ms Petty says: “I’ve never worried about whether somebody thinks I’m better than him or he is better than me. We’re different.” The age gap means he will always be more experienced but, she says, “there are probably some things I understand better”. She pauses, then says: “I can’t think of them.” But her father knows her strengths: “Your performance, your delivery,” he chips in.

Mr Elliott’s other daughter, Amanda Hird, arrives. As operations director she too spent years working her way up to senior roles at Ebac. “There are people who think you’re there because of who you are, [so] you have to build respect,” she says.

“Father & Son”, a familiar combination all over the world, has existed for centuries. “Father & Daughter” is rare. Yet, in recent years, fathers and daughters working together, sometimes with daughter eventually succeeding father, has become more common. This, says Denise Kenyon-Rouv­inez, a professor and co-director of IMD business school’s family business centre, is the case around the world.

Read full article here

Source: Financial Times, 01 July 2014

Leave a Reply

*