Case Study: ColeTek, Inc. Succession Planning

Essay by treyhincherUniversity, Master's February 2004

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ColeTek offers us a unique look into the evolving relationship between two generation and the difficulties that come with succession, control, ownership and successfully passing the torch. The volatile relationship between ColeTek's aging founder, Alan Cole, and his two sons, Paul and Brian is at the essence of this case. Alan Cole is now faced with a life changing decision, sell the company to an interested buyer; hire new management to run the company, or try to establish a viable way to bring his two sons back to ColeTek. Through ColeTek's example we are able to analyze different opportunities available to transfer family held business.

Alan Cole always relied on his aggressive initiative and creative mind to produce the foundation for his business and to dictate his family life. In 1966 Alan and his brother founded a manufacturing business out of their basement. As the times changed Alan and his brother no longer had the same vision of their companies' future, therefore, Alan packed his bags and embarked on his own journey.

Due to the success of his innovation ColeTek, Inc was an over night success. Its success feed off the CC200 model that Alan designed himself, ColeTek was able to reach annual sales of $1 million by 1979.

By the 1980's Alan was able to share his dream with the people he cared most for his family. His two sons, Paul and Brian interred the family business with different interest and high expectation for success. Alan's creative mindset never rationally though-out the consequences of what could happen without properly preparing the boys before joining the company. Alan Cole was caught up in the moment and idea of passing his life work on to his siblings. Paul and Brian were fresh out of college and ready to conquer the world.