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T he Pearl Ini­tia­tive is an “in­de­pen­dent, not-for-profit, by-business for-business in­sti­tu­tion work­ing across the Gulf Re­gion to in­flu­ence and im­prove cor­po­rate ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency.” Re­cently, they re­leased five case stud­ies on Mid­dle East­ern firms to il­lus­trate good gov­er­nance in fam­ily business. For ex­cel­lence in suc­ces­sion plan­ning, they pointed out the ini­tia­tives un­der­taken by Saudi con­glom­er­ate Zamil Group. With sev­eral di­ver­gent business in­ter­ests, this FOB, which was es­tab­lished in 1934, is cur­rently be­ing man­aged by its sec­ond, third and fourth gen­er­a­tion fam­ily mem­bers, 30 of whom run the var­i­ous ver­ti­cals that em­ploy over 12,000 peo­ple. In the early 2000s, after an ex­ter­nal con­sul­tant was brought in to con­duct an or­gan­i­sa­tional anal­y­sis of the group, the im­por­tance of strate­gic tal­ent man­age­ment and de­vel­op­ment within the fam­ily be­came very clear. The fam­ily es­tab­lished a ju­nior board to start in­volv­ing the next gen­er­a­tion in a more or­gan­ised way. Dur­ing th­ese early years of the new mil­len­nium the fam­ily started de­vel­op­ing a fam­ily con­sti­tu­tion along­side poli­cies for suc­ces­sion and em­ploy­ment of fam­ily mem­bers. The Zamil suc­ces­sion pol­icy was in­tro­duced in 2010 after a three-year de­vel­op­ment process. The val­ues of the pol­icy are an­chored in the Zamil fam­ily con­sti­tu­tion and the fol­low­ing prin­ci­ples: The im­por­tance of tal­ent recog­ni­tion and as­sess­ment Iden­ti­fy­ing the per­sonal de­vel­op­ment needs of fam­ily mem­bers Iden­ti­fy­ing high-po­ten­tial and high-per­form­ing tal­ent De­vel­op­ing ca­reer paths for fam­ily mem­bers The pol­icy also states that fam­ily mem­bers are not en­ti­tled to oc­cupy cer­tain po­si­tions in the group and that pro­mo­tions in the group are solely based on merit and achieve­ments. Fur­ther­more, a Tal­ent Com­mit­tee was formed com­prised of four fam­ily mem­bers and the group HR di­rec­tor, and was re­spon­si­ble for cre­at­ing a long-term strat­egy for the de­vel­op­ment of fam­ily mem­bers. A first pro­gramme called Zamil Third Gen­er­a­tion (ZTG) was launched. Un­der ZTG 18 fam­ily mem­bers (even those not in­volved in the business) took part in a psy­cho­me­t­ric as­sess­ment to eval­u­ate their strengths and per­sonal de­vel­op­ment needs. Spark­ing a first wave of per­sonal de­vel­op­ment plans and see­ing the im­pact of those plans, the fam­ily quickly de­cided to start in­clud­ing non-fam­ily mem­bers in the tal­ent de­vel­op­ment strat­egy and ZTG was trans­formed into the Zamil Fu­ture Lead­ers pro­gramme (ZFL). As a re­sult of this well-struc­tured and longterm ini­tia­tive ZFL has pro­vided smooth tran­si­tions from academia to business for fam­ily mem­bers who joined the business as em­ploy­ees and is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an in­creased level of con­fi­dence in the over­all suc­ces­sion process and tran­si­tion man­age­ment.

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