You can be aristrocratic about it, and tell your young scion to be a golf pro or something, and nod distractedly when he tells you he’d rather pursue the intellectual rewards of work in private equity. Sure, you welcome him back into the family firm at some point, and you hope he does well. But you don’t announce to the financial world that he’s next in line to run your centuries old empire until you’ve gotten some positive feedback, and at least until he’s reached the ripened old age of 32. Which is basically the only thing to do if your son is Mayer Amschel Rothschild’s great-great-great-great grandson:
Alexandre de Rothschild said his father always told him to “do what you want—if you want to play tennis, go ahead.” Alexandre, now 32, did not devote his life to perfecting his serve, breeding horses, or the other pursuits one might imagine are available to a scion of the world’s biggest family-owned bank. Instead, he took jobs at other financial firms before joining the family business four years ago, becoming the seventh generation of a banking dynasty that can be traced to the 18th century. …“Whether it’s chairman, CEO, one, the other, both—it could take various forms and there’s no timing pressure,” said Alexandre in his first interview. His father, David de Rothschild, isn’t worried about his readiness. “What I observe of Alexandre’s attitude and behavior and what colleagues tell me is very comforting,” he said. “But again, he’s not under pressure to be more visible or add titles. Things are progressing as they should.”
Or you can do like they do in Hong Kong and just give the chosen child a great big pile of money.
Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong’s richest man, transferred a one-third stake in a family trust from son Richard to elder brother Victor, moving to consolidate succession planning for an empire worth more than HK$850 billion ($110 billion).
Which would work for us.