The third generation to head Houtzagerij Demey consisted of brothers Frans, Bart and Peter Demey. Kristof, Frans’s son, had also been active in the company for several years by then. When Frans turned 63 two years ago, these four began seriously considering the company’s future. It did not take long for them to decide to ask the team at Vandelanotte, where they were already a client, for support in this process.
“My brothers and I have always worked together well and properly. We wanted to deal with this step in a correct fashion as well. By involving a third party, we mainly hoped to ensure neutrality. Should my son and I wish to take over the business, for example, I wanted to avoid pushing the conversation in a certain direction. We did not want anyone unfairly privileged or disadvantaged. To put it another way, we all needed to have a chance to speak our minds so we could come to the right decisions together.”
Vandelanotte started by arranging meetings with all stakeholders present, followed by individual interviews that went into greater depth. This allowed Vandelanotte’s team to gain an accurate impression of everyone’s concerns. “That was a good thing, as not everyone will say everything that is on their mind in a group,” says Frans. It was soon clear that the youngest of the three brothers wished to leave the company altogether. Furthermore, Kristof did not feel comfortable continuing the business on his own. “While these were not exactly secrets or surprises, it was good to be able to state it all in confidence. The conclusions were addressed during feedback sessions.”