For a 103-year-old family-operated dealership group, developing a succession plan ranks high on the to-do list.
That’s why Joe Pritchard, 52, the fourth-generation CEO of Pritchard Family Auto Stores in Forest City, Iowa, has appointed his son and daughter to put together a group of future company leaders. They call the group the G5 — or Generation 5 — governance board.
The idea to build G5 came to the Pritchards through a class at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. One of the Pritchard siblings who is not formally involved in the company graduated in 2011 from St. Thomas with a degree in family business. As part of her curriculum, once a month for a semester in 2009, the entire family — four siblings and their parents — went on a two-hour road trip to Minneapolis to participate in the course. It was the first time the family had discussed succession.
Ryan Pritchard, 31, Joe’s son and an executive for Pritchard Family Auto Stores’ retail and commercial business, said it helped the family “identify the weaknesses and strengths and grow not only as a family but as a business moving forward.”
“All [G5] members have governance power now. However, it’s significantly influenced by the veteran members of the organization,” Ryan said. “We gather the information and try to make a decision based on what’s best for the overall enterprise.”
By establishing the G5 governance board, Angela Pritchard Spiteri, 29, Joe’s daughter and vice president of operations, said her father is showing his interest in the voice of the next generation. “That’s not something every leader in his role will do,” she said.
But with G5, the Pritchard family business intends to close the generation gap.