“Makes decisions quickly and shepherds his clients forward with honesty, hard work and determination.”

Doug performs business advisory services for clients including family offices and family owned businesses with a special focus on succession planning. He works with clients to plan and transition responsibilities from one generation to the next by astutely assessing their unique situation, determining the path to resolution of problems, conflicts and obstacles to success and then shepherding the client down the path to a desired outcome.

Succession planning is about anticipating needs and protecting the client company from potential pitfalls that would threaten its survival.  Doug thinks like a lawyer, figuring out areas of vulnerabilities for the client, honing in on priorities, preparing a plan to respond and executing that plan to see it through to resolution.   While originally intending to go to law school since he loved researching and digging into complex problems, Doug thought better of it when he saw how few lawyers were being hired following graduation.  He was directed instead to get his MBA and focused on tax.  That innate love of law and his inquisitive nature remained and has subtly emerged in practical ways throughout his career.

In addition to learning the intricacies of business and taxes, Doug developed strong people skills.  As he moved his way up the corporate ladder – working with large, influential companies such as Intel and GAP – he was asked to manage people and some with performance difficulties.  Doug was good at managing and enacting the “counseling out” process since he was upfront and honest while remaining kind and compassionate.  He made the process easier for both the company and the employee.

Doug works well under pressure, which is often the situation that clients find themselves in when they are dealing with succession planning issues due to the unexpected death of a business leader – especially a founder.  Rather than getting caught up in peripheral issues, he can sort out and focus on the critically important issues and relegate those that are not mission critical to lower priority.

Anyone who works with family-owned business will tell you “It’s the technical skills that get you in the door, but it is the soft skills – dealing with people, resolving conflict with family members and other stake holders – that keeps you inside the project longer term.”  The biggest challenge with family offices and family owned businesses is managing the client and their expectations.




  • The Issue – September 2012"Why ESOPs? A: Liquidity Without Loss of Control" by Doug Kennedy In this issue, we discuss the pros and cons of Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), an often overlooked area for generating liquidity to company owners without giving up control. Read More