J.M. Huber: A Family of Solutions

Case Solution

Benoit Leleux, Anne Catrin Glemser
IMD ()

As one of the oldest and largest family businesses in America, the JM Huber family business had strategically repositioned itself several times since its founding in 1883. Visionary family leaders and a committed senior management team had made the group an actor. international with leadership positions in niche markets in its various commercial portfolios. In 1993, the fourth generation of the family took over the management of the company: Peter T. Francis became president and CEO. He has set a high goal for his tenure: “By 2010, J.M. Huber will be recognized as one of America’s Best Managed Companies.” But times were not always pleasant. A few years after the company raised its balance sheet for the largest acquisition in history, the economic downturn of 2007 hit many of its key markets hard and put pressure on the group. With the crisis at its peak, Huber also faced another important milestone in its 125-year history: the successor to Peter Francis. But the family loyally supported the company and used this difficult time as an opportunity to show their courage. The board of directors did not shy away from the process and chose Mike Marberry, an unfamiliar manager, as the next CEO. How did the board of directors support you in taking the reins amid the global recession? And how did the family fully engage with him and, thanks to his skillful implementation, gain confidence in his vision for the future? After all, the firm had always been successful in tough times and everyone wanted it to be that way again. Learning objectives: run the family business and train the next generation; Roles of the owner, family governance, family council, inclusion, succession process.

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