As a Shareholder of a NJ Family-Owned Corporation, Should You Consider Bringing in Independent Directors?

HNWBusiness Law, Shareholder Rights Litigation

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq., a NJ Shareholders Attorney

As more family businesses are established in New Jersey and across the country by ambitious families, business governance has become a hot topic. Many of these family-owned corporations do not last beyond the first or second generation due to improper governance on behalf of the families. If you are a shareholder in a family-run business and wish for the business to pass to your children, their children, and future generations to come, you owe to yourself to consult a knowledgeable NJ Shareholders attorney about business succession planning.

One of the keys to your business surviving future generations is often the placement of independent directors on your board. Since family-controlled businesses often have restricted shares, meaning ownership of stock cannot be transferred on the open market, this is typically a decision that must be made within the family. However, many of the smaller and medium-sized family-owned corporations are unfamiliar with independent directors. We are here to help.

Does your family-owned business need a board of directors?  If so, when should the board be established? Do you have to place independent directors in all of the positions, or can family members comprise part of the board? Why should independent directors have taken the positions on the board, rather than hard-working family members that have built the successful business into what it is today? What does an independent director even do? What do they bring to the table that a family member can’t? How long should their terms be for and how much should they be compensated? How do you even know who to look for to occupy these positions? We can answer these and the many more questions you may have.

Contact me personally to discuss your NJ Shareholder matter. I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns. You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or email me at

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