Cardon Family Hbs Case Study Review

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Date Submitted: 04/20/2014 09:57 AM

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This Harvard Case Study details the invariable - and often emotionally charged -restructuring process any family-run business must undergo when it outgrows the grasp of the founder’s children. The Cardon family’s quest to structure the business so as the ensure its continuity is a prime example of the challenges and opportunities a family-run real estate business experiences when the third generation prepare themselves to take over command.

There are several factors that make the Cordon family transition interesting. First of all, the case study is told mainly from the viewpoint of Wil Cardon, the son of Wilford Cardon, and the grandson of the founder of the family real estate firm.

Wil is a graduate of Harvard Business School and is keen on applying his Ivy League- business acumen to solving the problem of who will manage and/or partake in the profits of the family business. Wilford and his two brothers have run the firm up until now, as his three sisters were excluded from management and ownership. There are currently 21 grandchildren and over 100 great-grandchildren.

Wil, fresh out of business school, is looking to spruce things up at the family office (in doing so, forsaking his “dream job” at a large investment firm). The issues that need to be dealt with are several. The family has grown. Historically, while the three sisters of Wilford were neither owners nor managers of the real estate, there was an unspoken understanding that the family would take care of them. The case study documents that the brothers felt a “financial responsibility to help them, and did so from time to time”. Also, there is the issue of the family mantra, from the days when they were still dirt-poor; encouraging all Cardon’s to attend college and ensuring that everyone got a chance to go. That would likely be an item that the family business might consider funding. Additionally, given that the Cardon’s are Mormon, they go on...