POST by Stephen Gregory, Senior Consultant:

Succession planning and execution sounds to some people like something which might be a lot of work, disrupt business operations and cause lots of internal disputes, especially in a family owned business.

Napoleon Grills, based in Ontario, Canada, is a manufacturing and marketing success story.  For the past five years it has been selected as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies by Canadian Business.

We’ve all seen these grills in those spectacular outdoor kitchens so popular in new Cape Cod Summer homes.  They are sold in 34 countries, and they are considered among the best.

This article talks about their success, focusing on the fact that they are growing rapidly, improving their product quality every day and having fun doing it – all while in the midst of their planned, well designed succession plan.

Napoleon Grills is a family owned business, part of Wolf Steel, founded by Wolfgang Schroeter in 1976. Ron McArthur, the company’s president, joined the firm as part of a careful succession plan, in which the founding parents are transitioning control to their sons, aided by professional managers like McArthur as needed.

Wolfgang continues to serve as CEO, and his wife, Ingrid, who has managed the company’s finances since its inception, is still the CFO. But increasingly, both the daily work and strategic planning are done by the Schroeter “boys,” both in their mid-30s. Stephen serves as the company’s senior vice-president for sales, marketing and administration, and Christopher is senior vice-president for operations.


It might seem difficult serving as the president of a family-owned company in the midst of a succession, but McArthur is thrilled with the experience. “We are moving into a second generation of a Canadian-owned manufacturing company, and we are moving into it successfully,” he says.

Proper succession planning ensures that your hard work doesn’t amount to “dust in the wind” in the event of an unanticipated medical problem, death or simply burning out.  Senior Business Consultants, LLC is a group of experienced executives who, as part of their consulting practice, advise family owned businesses, like Napoleon Grills (some bigger, some smaller) how to develop and put in place a sensible, simple succession plan to protect and preserve the work of a lifetime for future generations.

We can also help family business owners put in place policies and procedures which will make the business more valuable should a sale be on the backburner.

We can help keep you business cooking and build a ‘well done’ succession plan.

Read the full details of Napoleon Grills, backyard barbecues and how to keep you from burning out HERE.