2010 Hall of Fame: Gene Chaiken, Chairman and CEO, Almo
Succession planning in any family business, if it's done right, ensures the seamless passing of the reins from one generation to the next. Most members of multi-generational businesses assume they will have the luxury of time for a measured transition where skills can be practiced and experience accumulated.
Gene Chaiken, chairman and CEO of Almo, knows different. His proudest achievement at Almo's helm has been to think well ahead, putting in place a transition plan with the appointment of his son, Warren, to the post of president and COO six years ago. It's a textbook example of sterling management - a strategy suited to the style of its architect. But Chaiken's strategy was really born of experience.
When his father-in-law, mentor and the head of Almo, Morris Green, died suddenly in 1973, Chaiken was left in a different situation, one that didn't include a clear succession plan. "It hadn't been laid out properly, and I vowed that something like that would never happen again," he said. "If you don't learn from mistakes in the past, then you're going to repeat them."