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National Business Families Day: Succession planning at EllisDon

  • Adam Gapinski
  • |
  • Mar 20, 2017
 National Business Families Day: Succession planning at EllisDon

Geoff Smith, president of EllisDon Corporation, speaks with Dave Simpson, director of Ivey's Business Families Centre, at the National Business Families Day Celebration.

Adam Gapinski is an HBA 2017 student.

Ivey hosted the 13th Annual National Business Families Day Celebration in London. Geoff Smith, the president of EllisDon Corporation, engaged in a fireside chat with David Simpson, director of the Business Families Centre at Ivey.

EllisDon was started by Geoff’s Father, Don, and his uncle, David, in 1951. Around the age of 40, Geoff was at a point in his career where he wanted to either continue to advance at EllisDon or pursue opportunities to work elsewhere.

After discussions between Geoff and his father, a succession plan was finally decided upon after great influence from Jack Adams, a close family friend and respected business executive in London, as well as Geoff’s mother. Geoff took over as president and CEO in 1996.

This experience teaches us that in family businesses, it is important for the first generation entrepreneur to share their plans for the future early, and in an honest and clear way to reduce the risk of conflicts arising within the family in the future.

Today, EllisDon generates over $3 billion in sales and has won many awards for being one of the best employers in Canada. Geoff mentioned that a company’s values drive its growth, which is evident as EllisDon is committed to investing in the long-term progress of each of its 2,500 employees by empowering them from the moment they begin working at the company.

In a rapidly changing construction industry, Geoff continues to delve deep to find the ideal business model for EllisDon in order to remain globally competitive, while creating a succession plan to pass the company on one day.