It’s A Family Affair –

Fathers and sons who pursue the same line of work have existed for about as long as families have been around. These combinations have been especially bountiful in politics and sports. George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, the second father-son combination to become president, is the most obvious example of families and politics.

In sports, there are scores of examples as well. The legendary hockey star Gordie Howe played at the same time with his two sons, Mark and Marty. And in baseball, for example, Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr., and Tim Raines Sr. and Tim Raines Jr. played on the same team at the same time.

Not as much is written about fathers and sons in more traditional businesses like law or private equity.

John and Jeff Turner, who are forming a new private equity business together, should be happy to know that the greatest part of America’s wealth lies with family-owned businesses. Family firms comprise 80% to 90% of all business enterprises in North America, according to a study by J.H. Astrachan and M.C. Shanker, published in Family Business Review; and that the average life span of the family-owned business is 24 years.

Some other facts:

– The oldest FOB operating in the U.S. is the Zildjian Cymbal Co. of Norwood, Mass. Founded in 1623 in Constantinople, the company moved with the family to the U..S in 1929;

– 78% of all jobs created in the U.S. from 1977-1990 were created by FOBs;

– 37% of Fortune 500 companies are family owned;

– 60% of all public companies in the U.S. are family controlled.