"Non-family CFOs in family businesses: do they fit?"
, in Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 34, Nummer 2, Seite(n) 45-51, 2013, ISSN: 0275-6668
Non-family CFOs in family businesses: do they fit?
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Purpose: This article seeks to explore success factors for integrating non-family chief financial officers (CFOs) in family firms. The integration of non-family CFOs is of great importance to family firms, as the CFO position is often the first management position in family firms for which non-family managers are recruited. Moreover, non-family CFOs can bring in valuable know-how to the family firm and reduce the family firm's financial risk.
Design/methodology/approach: The findings of this study are based on a qualitative field study in Austrian family firms. The views of non-family CFOs, family managers, family board members, and non-family CEOs were obtained through semi-structured interviews.
Findings: Four larger success factors for non-family CFOs and five for controlling families were derived. The most important factor for non-family CFOs that emerged from the study was that CFOs should be appreciative of the peculiarities of family firms. For controlling families, the results suggest that it is advisable to provide the non-family CFO enough space to effectively conduct their job as well as respect the CFO's views.
Practical implications: Both non-family CFOs and controlling families may find the results presented in this article useful for creating a successful integration of non-family CFOs in family firms. The success factors presented should be directly applicable for CFOs and controlling families.
Originality/value: This study is the first to investigate success factors for the integration of non-family CFOs into family firms. Moreover, the results of this article may also be useful to the under-researched field of non-family managers in family firms in general.