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The four P’s: People, planet, profits – and passion

Read Arjan's story

A Canadian case study from our Global NextGen Survey: Arjan Stephens, Nature’s Path, Canada

Arjan Stephens was named one of Business in Vancouver’s ‘Top 40 under 40’ in 2012. He’s the second generation of the Nature’s Path organic foods company, a business he says was “founded on a hope and a dream and a $1,500 loan”, and is still driven by those same values 30 years later, now it’s turning over $300m a year and selling into over 50 countries.

Like many of the NextGens we surveyed, Arjan is balancing demands of the family with his desire to establish himself and put his own stamp on the business. Similarly, he is one of the 7% of NextGens who worked outside of the family business. Arjan didn’t originally intend to follow his parents into the business at all. After a degree in history, Arjan was looking at the possibility of a Masters when a conversation with his mentor proved to be a lightbulb moment: “He said to me, ‘Your parents are doing great things with the business, and they’re not doing all that just in order to sell it to the highest bidder. They’d much prefer to get their family involved - why don’t you give it a try?’ Arjan notes he now has the same passion for the business as his parents had and believes that has enabled him and his family to stay true to their values and is a key ingredient for their success.

What's next for Nature's Path? Digital. Arjan believes, “The thing about digital is that you can’t afford to be complacent, because sooner or later someone will come up with an idea and suddenly the whole market has changed."

Read Arjan’s full story here.

PwC’s Next Generation Survey 2016: The Female Perspective

Read now - The female perspective

Views of female NextGen family business leaders

In our survey, we dug deeper to look at the perspective from female NextGens—many of whom plan to take over the business one day.

The gender gap issue in businesses continues to make headlines and we wanted to understand how do the female NextGen in family businesses feel about the prospect of leadership? The good news here is that 30% of the women we interviewed have a seat on the board, which is noticeably higher than the global average for public companies. Likewise, over half the women we spoke to disagreed that their gender would be a barrier to them running the family business, and nearly the same number said that their firm recognizes the value of having women in key positions.

While female NextGens are optimistic the gender gap is closing in their businesses, there is clearly work that needs to be done. One striking example is the noted difference in the leadership roles males and females are undertaking in their firm. Male NextGens tend to be involved in professionalising the firm whereas their female counterparts are more focused on professionalising the family in areas of corporate governance.

Key stats from The female perspective

Key stats

Read the chapter from our Global NextGen Survey here.

View from the bridge: The expectations of the current generation

Read more - Sticky baton syndrome?

Sticky baton syndrome

Another extremely important set of expectations: those of the current generation. How do they see their evolving role? What about the succession process? And how can they help with that other crucial element of the professionalizing agenda: professionalizing the family?

Quote - NextGen from Canada


Those taking over family firms have probably always worried about the succession process – about how their parents will adapt, and how they themselves will measure up. Many of these concerns have not changed a great deal since our last NextGen survey in 2014. NextGens are still concerned about managing the succession process successfully. Although they survey indicated concern about the current generation staying involved after the handover, what we refer to as "sticky baton syndrome", an overwhelming majority indicated they would value continued support.

Treating succession as a process rather than an individual event, current and NextGens can find the best way to ensure that the previous generation still feels involved and able to contribute, but also make the transition they need ensure future success.

Read the chapter from our Global NextGen Survey here.

How do NextGens’ business priorities compare to current leaders?

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Current CEO vs. NextGen?

This year’s PwC Global CEO Survey focused in particular on how public expectations of business are changing, and how this is having an impact on corporate decision-making. Stakeholder perceptions are especially important, and, at the same time, the definition of ‘stakeholder’ is changing and widening. 

Trust and the need for consumers to have an emotional relationship with the brands and products they buy is becoming critically important and family businesses may have an advantage over their corporate competitors. Trust and transparency is inherent in the way they've built their businesses. The NextGens we surveyed are acutely aware of this. While their business priorities are generally aligned to the current CEOs, NextGens are also placing a higher priority on "giving something back". As Malcolm Preston, our Global Leader in Sustainability & Climate Change says, “Next gens are generally more focused than their parents in assessing the real impact of their business. They want to make money, but often in a responsible way.

Read the chapter from our Global NextGen Survey here to learn what priorities are different for the current CEO vs. NextGen.

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Is Digital a springboard or stumbling block?

Read more: The digital question

The digital question

In our Global NextGen Survey, digital was an area where the generation gap still lingers. Many NextGens struggle to convince their parents that the firm needs to do more on digital: 29% believe that family firms are slower than other types of business to keep up with new technology, and 40% confessed to some degree of frustration in trying to get new ideas accepted by the current generation.

The world the family business is operating in has changed, and the NextGen will not only need to understand these challenges, they will need to have the skills and strategies to deal with them. Convincing the family to be early adopters of digital strategies to transform their business will be top of mind for the leaders of tomorrow.

Chart - Digital

Read the chapter from our Global NextGen Survey here.


What are the NextGens’ expectations of their business?

Revolution or evolution?

Revolution or evolution

The NextGens of 2016 are well prepared, confident, and ambitious – both for themselves and for their companies. They want to be more than just 'caretakers' of the family firm. They care greatly about the business and want to hand it over in good shape, but many of them would also like that business to look very different. Not just bigger and stronger, but more international, more diversified, and more modern. The NextGens are exploring new ideas, new markets, new locations, and even new business models.

Legacy was a key concern for the NextGens we surveyed in 2016. The vast majority of NextGens want to evolve the business, leaving their own stamp on the organization while also acknowledging their responsibility to hand over a sound business for future generations. This revolution or evolution conundrum is highlighted by survey participant, Mark Lee of Sing Lun Holdings who told us: "you cannot meet the needs of an evolving market if you're not prepared to evolve.

Chart - Revolution

Read the chapter from our Global NextGen Survey here.


Confidence, skills, preparation: The NextGens’ expectations of themselves

Confidence is key - read more!

Why 'non-family objectivity' is key


We spoke to over 250 next gens, from those starting as trainees in the family firm to those at board level with more than a decade of experience, in our Next Generation Survey of Family Business Leaders. Just under half of the respondents had always planned to work for the family firm, and this figure hasn’t changed since the last survey in 2014. What has changed, however, is how they’re going about it.

The 2014 survey discussed the value of working outside the family firm, both to gain useful experience and bridge the credibility gap. 70% of the next gens we spoke to this year have done this at some point before they joined the family firm. In many cases, their parents encouraged them to do this as part of a structured development plan. In fact, 43% of the respondents who worked for another company before joining the family business did so with this in mind.


Learn why ‘non-family objectivity’ is beneficial for your family business in the survey.

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2016 Federal budget

Fed Budget

A new era with a majority Liberal government

On March 22, 2016, the Federal Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, presented the new majority government’s first budget. This Tax Insights discusses the tax initiatives proposed in the budget.

After the release of Canada’s budget, Finance Minister Morneau commented that the government will not proceed with its plan to limit the favourable tax treatment of stock options.

Here are some highlights from the Federal budget that private companies should be aware of:

  • A review of the Tax System, including "the ability of high net worth individuals using private corporations to inappropriately reduce or defer tax"
  • The small business tax rate remaining at 10.5% after 2016, and the current gross-up factor and dividend tax credit rate applicable to non-eligible dividends staying steady to preserve integrated tax rates
  • Multiplication of the Small Business Deduction
  • International Tax Measures - Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Measures
  • Avoidance of the Business Limit and the Taxable Capital Limit
  • Consultation on Active vs. Investment Business
  • Distributions Involving Life Insurance Proceeds
  • Transfers of Life Insurance Policies
  • Eligible Capital Property (ECP)
  • Proposal to increase the tax rate on personal services business income earned by corporations to 33%

To learn more about the new Federal budget click here


PwC’s Next Generation Survey 2016: The Female Perspective


Just in time for International Women's day, PwC examines the views of female next gen family business leaders in The Female Perspective, a special cut of the upcoming Next Generation of family business leaders’ survey1.

We specifically look at the women who participated in the survey—many of whom plan to take over the business one day. What is their experience? What issues do they face? Do they have the support they need to succeed, and if not, what factors are holding them back?

Read more survey findings at:

1 PwC’s Next Generation Survey launches on April 12, 2016.


Old-style strengths, new-style challenges: A private company view of the 19th Annual Global PwC CEO Survey

Click here to read more!

The business environment has never been more complex, or more volatile, but private companies are very confident about their prospects, with 81% of CEOs forecasting revenue growth in the next year.

Private companies are leveraging the strengths of their special business model to succeed in the 21st century. In other words, using some old-style strengths to succeed in a brave new world.

In our private companies’ edit of PwC's annual Global CEO Survey, Old-style strengths, new-style challenges, we look at the results from the private company sector through the three interrelated perspectives of progress, perceptions, and people.

Highlights include:

  • Progress: Achieving growth in complicated times
  • Perceptions: Addressing greater stakeholder expectations
  • People: Securing the right skills, and fostering innovation

Click here to read our private company view of the 19th annual Global PwC CEO Survey!