Succession Planning by founding franchisors
All in the franchise community can recall the deaths of well respected and seemingly indefatigable franchisors.
In Australia in 2001, Warwick Shedden, founder and managing director of Oz Design Furniture died while out jogging aged 48. Now, in 2007, news of the sudden and untimely death of another high profile franchisors, John Ilhan (aged 42), founder and CEO of Crazy Johns , has been greeted with much sadness.
Franchise agreements usually contain provisions addressing the possibility of the franchisee becoming incapacitated or dying. The early deaths of visionary entrepreneurs are a reminder to all franchisors to dust off their succession plans.
This is a real problem when buying into a smaller franchise system. A McDonald's or Hilton will have sufficient institutional structure in place to keep operating once the founder dies, but a small system may have a real issue of leadership in the wake of the founder's death.