The role of women in succession and corporate governance


Name of the provider / Family business 


Professional sector and company size 

Shipping industry, tourism, and hospitality – approximately 30 employees

Need/problems/challenge addressed 

The role of women in succession and corporate governance




Internal resources of M.E.I.E. Lab

Link to more information  

Three companies belong to the family’s business group. A hotel unit, a tourism business operating on a global scale and a shipping service company. The founding couple started as employees in a shipping company, gaining knowledge and experience in the industry. Thus, they created three decades ago a company that provides high quality services to all greek shipping companies, representing exclusively in greece the most distinguished service providers of the international shipping industry. In addition, having a good knowledge of the tourism sector, they simultaneously created a business with the aim of providing tourism services and organizing conferences and events around the world. Strengthening their involvement in the tourism industry, they also created a four- star hotel near the sea, on an island in the ionian sea. The owners of the businesses are all family members, namely the two parents and their four daughters. Businesses are in the second generation of ownership and leadership. The succession was from the father and mother to the daughters. Two of the four daughters are active in the family business. The composition of the board of directors of each company is different. In all three there is one of the parents, as a mentor, while the two daughters who are actively involved in the family businesses hold high positions on the boards of directors of the companies. Founders and successors agree that the process of succession, the function of the successors and their self-confidence was not affected by the social prejudice against the female gender. In addition, the parents were both very supportive, receptive to handing over the baton, changing roles between them. The mother was more encouraging towards the successor daughters. A result of the succession process was the participation of female successors in business ownership and governance resulting in the differentiation of formal governance mechanisms from the participation of the 2nd generation. Their participation gradually led to significant changes in the governance of the company. They changed initially conservative structures that did not correspond to the times and in addition there was the involvement of women in business management in senior positions. Female successors as family ceos are distinguished for their persistence and appetite for work, but above all for their dedication to the business. They recognize communication and teamwork as their most important elements. The governance options in the business group included separate management of each business, for the 3 businesses and a separate agenda for the manager of each. Successor ceos develop their own agendas that are sometimes linked, but at the same time they discuss everything together. The differentiation of the strategy from the 2nd generation led to the changes of business portfolio, not only due to preferences but also due to data of the time. The flexibility and knowledge of the new generation enhanced the internationalization of the business, as the 2nd generation evolved the internationalization strategy. Regarding the influence of the role of the wife/mother of the successors on their managerial duties in the company, they notice that their duties are positively affected, since motherhood helps one to find balance in the workplace.