Succession in Greece: the story of an SME working in Maritime & Shipmanagement

The Greek SME provides services in the field of Maritime & Shipmanagement. The company was established in 1986 by the seller.  Currently, it employs 20 full-time employees. The main reason for the sale revolves around the seller and founder’s decision to retire therefore to hand over the company to their son. The successor is the son of the former owner who started working in the company right after his graduation from the university where he studied electronical and electronic engineering. He purchased the business because he shares the company’s goals and values, and willing to continue the operation of the company that his father had created from scratch.

The succession process’s successful implementation was mainly related to the fact that the organisation had a clear plan and open communication with the successor at least five years before this took place. The fact that the successor had already been working for the company made planning and implementation smoother. More precisely, it made it easier for the employees to accept him in his new role because he was working as a sales manager for the same company for the last 24 years.
The few impediments in this succession process mainly resulted from the Greek legislation and taxation system and the limited taxation incentives that they provide in successions. Furthermore, as the succession took place during the Covid-19 hygenic crisis, the implementation of more modern working methods and styles had to be implemented mainly ad hoc. This caused some difficulties in terms of employees’ preparedness and adaptability.

It is really worth mentioning that the successor added more innovative aspects in terms of dealing with sustainability and circular economy issues that the company was addressing. In other words, the core business remained the same, but more environmentally sustainability issues are now well-thought-out in the way they carry out their day-to-day business and deliver their products.

It is of high importance for succession planning for the seller to set SMART goals at least ten years before this is going to take place. Adaptability to change, out-of-the-box thinking, capacity to innovate, and a clear company mission are among the most important skills that are required for businesses to successfully complete the succession process.

In conclusion, local and international trends, economic environment, and environmental considerations are factors that can determine the level of accomplishment for a succession process, but it is important for the successor to share common values with the company, be willing to innovate, re-engineer business processes and re-evaluate the work organization structures, in order to expand the company’s market share.