After an eight-year hiatus, USC’s Marshall School of Business is relaunching its Family Business Program.

The initiative, part of the school’s executive education program, will take the form of a series of monthly workshops and seminars about the issues family businesses face, including wealth management and how to communicate as a family without biting each other’s heads off when business challenges arise.

It was a program James Ellis ran before becoming Marshall’s dean in 2007, when it was shelved.

Ken Ude, director of the program, will relaunch it with a symposium Oct. 8, using a curriculum created by Lee Hausner, author of “Hats Off to You 2: Balancing Roles and Creating Success in Family Business,” which she co-authored with Ernest Doud Jr. The book will be used as a text for the series.

“We’re going to get into family issues like jealousy and rivalry,” Hausner said. “We’re going to talk a lot about communication because we’ve got generational communication issues. We’re going to talk about boards, because family businesses often don’t do strategic planning, so we are going to look at that and the estate planning process.”

Fewer than 40 percent of family-owned businesses transition successfully to the second-generation, and fewer than 13 percent to the third, Ude said. Helping generations prepare to transfer ownership and management will be a specific focus.

Designed for businesses with revenue of more than $10 million a year, participating companies will pay an annual $12,500 membership fee that will allow all family members to participate in the workshops, some of which will be held at their businesses. Marshall will initially set up program chapters in Los Angeles and Orange counties, and some 120 participants are expected at this week’s kickoff event.

“I can easily see it grow from two to four to six chapters because the subjects are lasting and important,” Ude said.

– Hannah Miet

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