Leadership Transitions in Family Businesses: Chex Finer Foods (2010)

Matthew Veves, Bryant University

Document Type Dissertation


Jeremy Isenberg took over as President of Chex Finer Foods in 2003 as the third generation of leadership in the family owned specialty food distributor. Jeremy, along with his older brother Michael as the VP of Marketing, made many changes to formalize the business and enter it into a period of rapid growth. After the dust from the transitional period settled and the Isenbergs were filling in the layer of middle management in their organization, their private label brand, Laurel Hill, began growing at an explosive rate. Now the Isenbergs must figure out how to not only position Laurel Hill in the marketplace but also how to organize it under Chex ownership so that it can continue to grow unencumbered.

This case describes the third generation transitional period and chronicles the firm’s history. Readers learn about transitions in family owned businesses and discover what characteristics of the business serve to help or hurt the transition. The case describes how the family aspect of a family business can influence management decisions and how strategic moves must be examined through a lens which takes into account the effects of family and their roles in the organization. The case concludes with a discussion about how Laurel Hill’s decision has implications on not only the family, but also organizational structure.