Next-gen regional family business leaders more willing to take the reins post-Covid, but struggle to get control: PwC

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FORTY-THREE per cent of the next generation of family business leaders in the Asia-Pacific region are now more committed to their business, compared to before the pandemic. In Asean, this figure increases to 48 per cent.

The findings came from professional services firm PwC through its global NextGen Survey 2022. And yet, PwC said in a Wednesday (Jun 22) press release, the current generation of business leaders, influenced by the uncertainty of the pandemic, appears to be less likely to relinquish control.

The survey found that only 15 per cent of next-generation business leaders in Apac and 16 per cent in Asean said they were asked to lead on specific projects as a result of Covid-19, giving them few opportunities to distinguish themselves.

However, about a quarter of those surveyed from Apac and Asean also agreed that Covid-19 accelerated succession planning, which allowed more of them to step into their roles in their family businesses. Approximately a third of them said the pandemic increased communication among family members about the business.

Next-generation business leaders are also more conscious of their businesses' environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns, with almost 70 per cent of respondents in both Apac and Asean recognising their responsibility to fight climate change and its related consequences, the survey revealed.

Only 12 per cent of Apac respondents said they prioritise cybersecurity and privacy for their businesses.

"This is the time to flesh out succession plans and to define the leadership skills required to deliver growth in the future, the key benchmarks on the route to succession, and what NextGens (next-generation family business leaders) must do to demonstrate they are ready to take the reins," said Ng Siew Quan, Asia-Pacific entrepreneurial and private business leader at PwC Singapore.

"That way the current generation can transition to a supporting or mentoring role with greater confidence."

The NextGen Survey is a global market survey among next-generation members in family businesses across 68 territories. The 2022 edition of the survey was conducted online between Oct 8, 2021 and Dec 12, 2021. Over one-third of the respondents came from the Apac and Asean region.

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