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By: Marie Ratermann on March 14th, 2023

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Jay Brant of Indiana Oxygen: Navigating the Challenges of Succession Planning in Family Businesses

Succession planning is an important part of any business, but it is especially important for family businesses. In a recent podcast, Jay Brant of Indiana Oxygen discussed his experience with succession planning and the importance of having open and honest conversations with family members.

Jay grew up in the family business and always planned on coming into the company. After graduating from college, he had the opportunity to do a nine-month internship with Lincoln Electric, which gave him the chance to learn the industry and welding, the core process of their business.

He worked in sales for about three years on the West Coast before moving back to Indianapolis and going into a sales position with Indiana Oxygen. When the company decided to go through an ERP changeover, Jay recognized the need to create the CIO position within the company and served in that role for four to five years. He then moved into the chief operating officer position, which had been vacant for about a year.

Jay's experience highlights the importance of having a plan in place for succession and having family members who are willing to step up and take on new roles. But as he noted in the podcast, it's also important to have open and honest conversations about short-term and long-term career goals, which can help prevent misunderstandings and conflicts down the road.

One tool that Jay's family used to guide their succession planning was the executive policy manual, which lays out guidelines for big decisions like entering or exiting the company. However, Jay noted that the framework doesn't answer every question and that having regular goal check-ins as a family would have been helpful in establishing an environment of open communication.

Succession planning can be a daunting task, but it's essential for the long-term success of a family business. By having open and honest conversations about goals and expectations, families can create a framework that works for everyone involved. And by being willing to step up and take on new roles, family members can ensure that their business continues to thrive for generations to come.


Submit a question you would like answered during the succession planning panel discussion.