Tag Archives: brazil

How Boards Work in Brazil (Part 3)

by Stephanie Brun de Pontet &
John L. Ward

We surveyed 100 large, sophisticated family firms in Brazil, at a recent workshop we led for HSM.  Following is their board experience.

What Type of Board?

  • 40% have a family dominated board.
  • 24% have an independent led board.
  • 20% have a management dominated board.
  • 16% have an advisory board.

Rating the Independent Director

  • 63% said their independent/outside directors are “very valuable.”
  • 30% said they were “satisfactory.”
  • 6% said they were “window dressing.”
  • 1% said they were “not helpful.”

Next Generation Participation?

  • 10% are invited to join at 21-25 years of age.
  • 25% are invited to join at 26-30 years of age.
  • 25% are invited to join at 31-35 years of age.
  • 40% are invited to join at 35 or older.

As Observers?

  • 31% invite next generation “observers.”
  • 69% do not.


  • 30% based on shareholding.
  • 38% based on family representation.
  • 32% based on merit qualifications.

With special thanks to HSM of Brazil for their dedication to family business education.


What They Think in Brazil (Part 2)

by Stephanie Brun de Pontet &
John L. Ward

We continue to share the results of a survey of 100 significant family firms in Brazil which were part of a program hosted by HSM, a program we were very privileged to lead.

Shirt Sleeves to Shirt Sleeves…

What do they think are the greatest challenge to family business continuity?

  1. Senior generation “Letting Go” (29%)
  2. “Sibling Rivalry” (17%)
  3. Business challenges (16%)
  4. Cousin differences and indifference (16%)
  5. Nepotism (12%)
  6. Attracting non-family talent (8%)

Family Education

The most common education initiatives at their family meetings were:

  1. Family history and values (38%)
  2. Understanding the business and industry (31%)
  3. Improving family interpersonal skills (24%)
  4. Financial literacy (7%)

Most surprisingly, 49% had more than one family meeting per year!

Problematic Paradoxes?

We asked what was their most perplexing paradox as a family business:

  1. Change and tradition (27%)
  2. Selective and inclusive (25%)
  3. Fair and equal (18%)
  4. Freedom and loyalty (16%)

With special thanks to HSM, Brazil for encouraging the survey and for their dedication to family business education.


Family Business Practices in Brazil (Part 1)

by Stephanie Brun de Pontet &
John L. Ward

We had the special pleasure of conducting a two-day workshop for HSM for 250 people from more than 100 significant Brazilian family firms. In this and subsequent web posts, we share the results of a survey of the participants. What has been their experience?

In terms of ‘who’ was in our audience answering these questions: 36% are in the founding generation, 37% in the second generation, 16% in the third generation, and 11% in the fourth or later generations.  As the generation of the family will have a bearing on many of these questions, we have broken up the answers by these demographic groups as appropriate.


  • “Letting Go” of control by the senor generation was seen by all generations as the most significant challenge to successful continuity – non-family advisors and directors felt so, even more strongly.
  • Siblings in business together thought that differences in managerial style between them was their next greatest challenge (40%), followed by sibling rivalry (25%).
  • “Co-CEOs” have been part of 21% of all family firms, with 33% finding that a good practice.


  • Just as with our global research, half of families who have initiated a Family Constitution are pleased with results and half are not! Pleasantly surprising, 57% have tried.
  • Also quite similar to our global research, about 1/3 of all family firms have three or more Independent outside directors. 63% of those with outside directors find them extremely valuable.


  • About half feel it is likely that they will consider a private equity investor for their family company.
  • 51% say an IPO is not imaginable.
  • 24% already have experienced a ‘family shareholder’ redemption; yet, unfortunately, 45% have no policy to guide such an almost inevitable event.

What was our most surprising finding? Fully 65% of all participants have official family meetings, and most include some family business education as part of their meetings.

With thanks to HSM for encouraging the survey and for their dedication to family business education.


Relating the Family and the Business in Brazil

by Stephanie Brun de Pontet &
John L. Ward

At a recent seminar we led in Brazil, hosted by HSM, and attended by 250 individuals from family firms based across that country, we found the following results in an anonymous electronic polling of our audience.  As families in business around the world often wonder how to optimally handle these issues in their own family enterprises, we thought it would be of interest to share s few results here:

Do you require outside work experience of family members before they can join the family firm?

  • 33% ─ “NO”
  • 29% ─ 1 to 2 years
  • 28% ─ 3 to 4 years
  • 10% ─ 5+ years

Are family members paid for family governance roles?

  • 29% ─ “Yes”, meaningfully
  • 14% ─ “Yes,” symbolically
  • 47% ─ “NO”

At what age does the next generation begin to receive stock shares?

  • Under 21 years:        12%
  • 21-25 years:              16%
  • 26-35 years:              25%
  • 35+ years:                  22%
  • At parents’ death:     25%

How does the family do philanthropy?

  • 35% don’t
  • 25% mostly through the company
  • 24% mostly individual family members
  • 16% have a Family Foundation

If you hired a consultant to help, for what role?

  • 59% for family governance and constitution
  • 25% for business strategy
  • 10% for psychological help.

We are grateful to HSM Brazil for making this survey research possible.


In Brazil, Celebrating Some Paradoxes

Grupo Simtnes has been part of Brazil’s Amazon environment for more than 65 years. It seems to thrive on two paradoxical principles:

“With eyes set to the future, but without neglecting its Amazonian roots…”

“A mysterious and fascinating region that asks not to be explained but to be understood…

“Differences are blown away by the winds in the daily chants performed by leaves and waters.

“Chants which govern [our family company]…conciliating ecology and development, technology and myths, future and ancestral past, modernity and primitivism.

“Encounters of opposites…which have guided the actions of Grupo Simtnes ever since its birth.”