Succession to a non-family member?


Name of the provider / Family business 

SARL Coudereau-Grosbot 

Professional sector and company size 

Heat and electricity installation, renewable energy, <50 employees

Need/problems/challenge addressed 




Link to more information

SARL Coudereau-Grosbot is a family business established approximately 150 years ago by Ernest Coudereau in the town of Châteauneuf sur Cher, specializing in electrical, heat, air conditioning, sanitation and bathroom installations in nearby communes. Today, the business additionally offers appliances, televisions, Hifi and video equipment. Over five generations, the family business’s areas of expertise grew and diversified. According to the company’s website, they started “from a tinsmith and expert water well contractor, then installation and repair services, from selling gas lamps to the latest generation television”.

Since 1990, Jean-Luc Grosbot (5th generation) was at the head of the company. As of May 2023, the company owner was 61 years old and in the process of starting his retirement. This meant that the company needed to officially be ceded to someone else, but whom? According to Grosbot, his two children had chosen other professions: one became a military firefighter and the other works in the banking sector. For him, this meant the end of the road for passing on the business to the next generation. In the end, he turned to one of his employees, Eric Gratacos.

According to an Echo du Berry article, Eric Gratacos comes from Lunery, the same area and approximately 10 kilometers from SARL Coudereau Grosbot in Chateauneuf sur Cher. He went into a professional training high school, integrating his academic studies with a professional degree as a plumber/heating specialist. Once completed, he joined Coudereau-Grosbot for a fixed-term working contract for four years. In 2020, Gratacos would return to Coudereau Grosbot after leaving a previous job and three years later would take over. Although we can only imagine how the decision took form in Jean-Luc Grosbot’s mind, Gratacos’s familiarity with the work and the family business as well as his lifelong proximity to the Cher territory were important to assure a certain continuity, long-term vision and knowledge of the business that other candidates may not have been able to demonstrate. Without the details of what succession planning took place, one can at least observe the following steps identified by The CEO Business Coach, Brian Eisbrenner:

“Identify the potential successor” This could include non-family members.

“Develop the successors” through mentorship, training, etc.

“Plan the transition” by establishing a timeline. Jean-Luc Grosbot will still be present to help during this transition period.

Communicate the plan to necessary stakeholders in order to ensure transparency. For a small business like SARL Coudereau-Grosbot, there is already a certain proximity to collaborators.

Often, we imagine that true success and the best option for the family business is to stay in the family. In this case, Jean-Luc Grosbot weighed his options with the realities of the situation and the major priority was the survival of the company and maintaining the economic and business activity of the territory, continuing to invest on a local level.