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Former Sunday Times NED becomes Ambassador for Families in Business

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12 November 2013

Former Sunday Times NED becomes Ambassador for Families in Business

Experienced businesswoman and The Sunday Times Non Executive of the Year 2012, Jo Haigh, has been appointed an Ambassador by Families in Business (FiB), the independent go-to support organisation for the UK’s three million family businesses. A senior partner in boutique corporate finance house FDS Corporate Finance, which has bases in Birmingham, London and Yorkshire, and a partner in specialist training and development business FDS Knowledge, Jo Haigh has twenty years experience negotiating the sale and purchase of more than 300 businesses, specialising in owner managed companies. “Alongside her impressive credentials, Jo has personal experience, both good and bad, of being in a family business,” comments Dani Saveker, CEO and founder of FiB. “As a FiB Ambassador, she brings unique first-hand insight to the specific issue of governance in a family firm, at a time when getting this right has never been more important, with directors duties and responsibilities being paramount.” Two in every three private enterprises in the UK are a family business, but only a minority has a current strategy for governance or succession, as Dani explains: “The findings of our latest family business survey are fascinating: 68 percent of private firms and 18 percent of family firms, have no formal shareholder agreements in place. Forty-one percent of family businesses plan to pass ownership and management of the business to the next generation, but over 80 percent of the family firms we asked have no formal succession plans in place at all. “Our strategy at FiB is to build a network and community of specialists that really understand family firms and the unique challenges facing their owners and managers on a daily basis. Jo’s personal experience of being in a family business positions her to understand and empathise with those impacted by family businesses. In particular we know governance is a challenging area as family businesses grow and develop, and Jo adds an exceptional new dimension to the information, guidance and support available to our community about this. We want to raise the awareness of future-proofing these businesses that contribute so significantly to the UK economy.” Jo Haigh adds: “Family businesses are vital to the economy and society. They take responsibility very seriously and feel they have a duty to protect legacy and preserve the business for future generations. I am passionate about family businesses and ensuring they have the necessary support to continue into the future, and as an Ambassador of FiB, I have the chance to achieve this and make a difference. “The FiB community helps family businesses gain perspective; it is critical to have reassurance and by being part of FiB, peer support. Those working in family businesses must develop business intelligence and new ideas and having somewhere to go that understands the dynamics and offers impartial support and facilitation is vital. FiB represents exactly this kind of trusted, safe place with its community of individuals who really do understand family businesses.” Dani adds: “Seventy-two percent of family businesses only have family on their board of directors, but 21 percent are keen to look outside of the family to find additional expertise, according to our survey. FiB exists to support family businesses with this type of strategy and our network of professional advisers and business leaders has been built to provide a trusted, safe go-to organisation that provides the support and guidance we know family firms need.” Alongside Jo Haigh, FiB has Kevin Harris, Partner at business advisory firm Cooper Parry as an Ambassador, and a growing community of Exclusive and National Partners that was joined earlier this month by Part Time Executives Limited, a family business and the UK’s only provider of part time directors across all executive functions. FiB works exclusively with family businesses and professional advisers throughout the UK providing relevant support to family businesses and SMEs, and is regarded as a go-to organisation focused on providing help to family firms. Created by its CEO Dani Saveker, FiB provides tailored support packages and programmes to member family businesses, and has a growing network that includes professional advisers and supporters of family businesses. FiB is an approved Growth Accelerator Training Provider. Additional information, see: