5 lessons for family offices from HBO's Succession
HBO’s mega-series Succession follows the decaying empire of a dysfunctional media family - a template on precisely how not to run your family office. Here are five lessons that we can learn from Succession, before putting them into practice in the process of running family offices.

By Francois Botha
Published on Simple October 5, 2020

In an era in which television is redefining its place in the artistic pecking order, HBO’s Succession is another example of a TV blockbuster that has struck a chord with audiences around the world. The acclaimed series examines the decaying empire of a dysfunctional media family and exemplifies how family ties can count for little once big money rules the roost. Succession follows the Roy family, owners of media conglomerate Waystar Royco, in their pursuit to select the next heir to the family throne. Whilst attended to by a series of advisors and aides, Roy Logan – the self-made founder of the media giant – alone holds the decision. But that doesn’t stop him from toying with his children’s desire to take control along the way.

Perhaps the reason that Succession has struck such a chord is that while there may only be a select few media moguls, most of us have experienced fissions within our usual domestic bliss. And such issues can absolutely come to the fore in the process of running family offices, where there is always the possibility of discourse and discord over how the project operates.

Dealing with engagement, succession, and communication appropriately, while also ensuring that your family office has a greater purpose that is clearly defined can be hugely testing. And even if everyone involved has the best intent, delivering this guiding principle when faced with the reality of daily business and family affairs can be far from easy. Succession is a pivotal moment in a family office’s history and can represent both a huge challenge and opportunity.

About the Authors

Francois Botha

Francois Botha

Simple Founder. Strategy Advisor

Francois believes that the next generation of family leaders need new, simple tools and trusted experts with a fresh outlook.

Connect with Francois Botha View Francois Botha Profile

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