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Four Generations of the Owens Family (D)


This four part case series follows the Richard Owens family through nearly one hundred years of evolution and change. The family business started with one grocery store in 1906 and, by 1974, had grown into a large private enterprise that included supermarkets, liquor stores and real estate. While competitors could not seem to stop the Owens family business, fractured family relationships and rivalries caused significant problems. In 1974, the conflict came to a head and the firm was split into three, one business line for each sibling. How the businesses fared and how each brother managed his company for the future are the subjects of the B case. Efforts by one branch of the family to avoid the kinds of problems that brought about the division of the original family business are outlined. Governance and ownership issues now faced by the next generation are highlighted. The C case brings participants up-to-date with the evolution of the Richard Owens family's first constitution and governance policies implemented to help protect the family firm for the future. The D case presents the next step in family and company governance, highlighting the most recent family constitution dated November 2002.




John L. Ward, Joachim Schwass

Date Published



Ward, John L., and Joachim Schwass. 2005. Four Generations of the Owens Family (D).


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