Succession Plan

Succession planning – better planning

Making sure things carry on the way you want them to

A family business is a generational project. This doesn't just mean that it involves multiple generations, but also that it’s set up in such a way that it can carry on successfully through the generations.

Succession planning is one of the biggest and most difficult tasks there is. Our job is to help you overcome it. Not only does this involve deciding on the right model and the right candidate or candidates, it's also a question of finding suitable solutions for knowledge sharing and financing. And, above all, it means early planning.

Norbert Kühnis
Partner and Leader Family Business & SMEs

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Ask the right questions in advance

Is succession an issue in your family business? It’s never too early to start thinking about it. For a good solution, you need enough time to prepare yourself, the family and the company, involve all parties and examine possible options in detail. It’s best to start by thinking about the following key questions.

Become aware and start

  • When does succession become relevant in our family business?
  • When should we start succession planning?
  • Do we still have enough time?
  • Who’ll support us with all the questions relating to succession?

Reflect and prepare

  • Is our company structurally ready for a successor?
  • What do family members think about this topic?
  • As the current generation, am I ready to hand over?
  • What assets are available for the time following an active career?

Evaluate and select

  • What succession do I personally want?
  • How do I communicate my wishes to the family?
  • What succession options do we have?
  • What’s the value of the company?

Hand over and transfer

  • How and when do I hand over the initial leadership responsibilities?
  • Who receives shares and in what proportions? 
  • What are the tax consequences of my options?
  • How can we finance a succession?

Step down and let go

  • How do we discover our new roles?
  • Who’ll assist us?
  • How do we structure our assets?
  • Do we need a coach?


Find the right succession solution

With our extensive experience in consulting, moderation and mediation, we can support you from the planning to the implementation of your individual succession solution, whether at individual stages or throughout the entire process.

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We’ll work with you to define your strategy as a business-owning family. We’ll answer questions like these: Who is allowed to be a shareholder today and in the future? And who isn’t? What goals and values do you base your relationship as a family with the company on? And how do you deal with conflicts as a family? These and other similar rules are set out in a family constitution.

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In the succession process, the company must also be prepared for the change in management. The aim is to determine the potential and demonstrate it in a strategically coherent manner. This involves determining how the business model, processes, organisational structures and strategic measures should be designed in the future so that they’re optimally set out for the next generation. This can be identified using an integral financial view, which shows the future earnings potential as well as necessary replacement and expansion investments. Aspects such as the spin-off of business assets or the withdrawal of liquidity are also included in this category.

Succession can have a significant impact on your family business and you as an individual from a tax perspective. For this reason, you should know which options entail which tax consequences and whether these can be mitigated with a ruling. You must also take tax aspects into account when spinning off non-operating real estate or liquidity.

Legal aspects are of central importance in the succession process. It starts with providing private cover for scenarios such as death or divorce via a marriage and inheritance contract. And it extends to regulating the relationship between shareholders by way of a shareholders’ agreement and contracts relating to the actual transfer of the company, like a share purchase agreement, loan agreement and other possible contracts.

Would you like to transfer your company to a family member, to a trusted person outside the family or to a buyer who has nothing to do with the company? What’s the value of your company for each option? And who would support you in the sales process? We’ll give you clarity on the advantages and disadvantages of each option and work with you to take the necessary steps to implement the option you have chosen.

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How you prepare privately for company succession covers a wide range of topics, including emergency scenarios such as incapacity or death using the right to designate a power of attorney and wills, answering questions about retirement, financial needs in old age and wealth depletion, allocation and management of assets built up over the years. The following questions take centre stage: What financial resources will you need after your active career in the company? What implications does this have for a possible sale price of the company? And how should your assets be structured at this stage? We support you in planning the time ‘afterwards’ with foresight and answering the questions raised here.

In a constantly changing environment, having greater control over family wealth has become increasingly important for many families. There are various ways and therefore many questions as to how a family office can support a family in managing its assets:

Alone or jointly? On your own or with the help of third parties? Non-profit, familial or individual? Together with you, we support you in your search for a sustainable solution to manage, protect and increase your family assets in the long term.

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Arrange a free meeting

As the owner of a family business, securing the future is crucial for you. And an emotional undertaking as well. We’d be happy to discuss the implications of this important topic with you. We’ll show you why early succession planning is important and what you need to do to set this up.

Book a free initial consultation 

PwC NextGen & YoungLeaders Club for Family Businesses 

Within the framework of this exclusive platform, young and aspiring entrepreneurs meet in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. It’s a place where they can exchange ideas, enjoy a shared experience and expand their entrepreneurial network. The PwC NextGen & YoungLeaders Club has over 100 members from family businesses. 

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What our customers say

David J. Bosshard

“PwC helped us as an external third party to bring all those involved to the table and to create clarity regarding who wants or doesn't want what. Having this discussion within the family was both difficult and beneficial at the same time.”

David J. BosshardCEO Clienia Group
Marc Jacquet

“For me as an external Chairman of the Board of Directors, it is very valuable when the family which owns the company takes a close look at family governance issues. The specific example PwC helped us with was very useful.”

Marc Jaquetexternal Chairman of the Board of Directors of various family enterprises
Annette Heimlicher

“PwC helped us with drafting our family constitution. The collaboration was a professional mixture of sensibility, expertise and passion for family companies.”

Anna Aebischer-ImfeldChairman of the Board of Directors, Westiform Holding AG

Pleased to help you

We’ll advise and assist you with anything from strategy and succession planning through to asset structuring, regardless of size, markets or ownership/management structures. Talk to us about the things that are keeping you awake at night.

Norbert Kühnis

Partner and Leader Family Business & SMEs, Zürich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 63 63


Roman Leimer

Partner Tax & Legal, Bern, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 77 24


PD Dr. Alexandra Bertschi

Spezialistin für Familienunternehmen und Nachfolgeplanung, PwC Switzerland


Reto Blaser

Leiter Unternehmensentwicklung Familienunternehmen & KMU, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 1417


Roland Schegg

Director, Leiter Consulting Familienunternehmen & KMU, St. Gallen | Chur | Vaduz, PwC Switzerland

+41 79 215 29 31


Marco Tremonte

Managing Director Corporate Finance / M&A, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 15 32