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The Family Business Leader Podcast

Mar 7, 2018

In the previous episode, Eric Allyn shared the history of his family’s business, Welch Allyn. He told us how his generation banded together to change the governance model of the business, effectively removing control from the third generation and eliminating a family member CEO. When we left off, Eric was telling us about the sale of Welch Allyn to Hill-Rom in 2015.


In this episode, Eric shares his family’s process of creating ‘Allyn family 2.0, life after the sale.’ We talk about how his family is learning the ins and outs of wealth management and the evolving role of their family office. As Eric said, family members understood ophthalmoscopes and defibrillators. Now they’re learning a new language involving investments, insurance and trusts. They’re also facing the challenges of raising children with tremendous liquidity.


Eric shares some lessons learned from his Welch Allyn experience and also does a great job answering my bonus questions. Enjoy!


Topics discussed in this episode:


  • Recap of part 1 (:40)
  • The business sold. Now what? (2:17)
  • The evolution of the family office (4:00)
  • The Allyn Family Foundation (7:23)
  • Eric’s lessons learned (11:33)
  • Being a good board member in a family business (16:45)
  • Being a good family business owner (19:00)
  • How to get in touch with Eric (21:43)
  • Recommended resources (22:46)
  • Bonus questions:
  • What words of wisdom would you tell your 20-year-old self? (26:11)
  • What are you doing to raise financially responsible kids? (28:56)
  • What are you doing to keep health top of mind? (33:26)
  • What does successful generations mean to you? (34:58)
  • Wrap (37:20)


Guest Bio:

Eric Allyn is former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Welch Allyn, Inc, a company owned by the Allyn Family for 100 years.  For four generations, Welch Allyn was a Medical Device manufacturer, employing some 2,800 people world-wide, and selling products into every hospital and physician office in the US.  Welch Allyn was acquired by Hill-Rom, a larger public company, in 2015.


Eric Allyn began his Welch Allyn career as an employee in 1982, working in a variety of positions within the company, from sales, to marketing, to business development and country management.  He left his role as employee in 2010 to join Welch Allyn’s Board of Directors, where he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors, and also Chairman of the family’s Voting Trust, through 2015.  

Notable & Quotable:


After the sale of the business I had to repurpose myself. —Eric Allyn #successfulgenerations


My identity went from being tattooed with a stethoscope to being tattooed with a big dollar sign. —Eric Allyn #successfulgenerations


After we changed our governance structure, being a good family business owner meant being a good steward, being responsible, understanding the product line, remaining informed, but also not influencing management decisions. —Eric Allyn #successfulgenerations


Since the sale, our family office has shifted from accounting, trust management, estate planning and taxes to focusing more on wealth management and investments. —Eric Allyn #successfulgenerations


It’s crass almost the thought of bringing family members together to talk about money. —Eric Allyn #successfulgenerations


We’re trying to define what Allyn family 2.0 look like. It took 100 years to develop a certain brand for our family and now we’re starting new.  —Eric Allyn #successfulgenerations


[Regarding resources] Understanding the service providers out there and where they are strong and where they are weak is really important. —Eric Allyn #successfulgenerations


I would tell my 20-year-old self to have more structure around family members entering the business; policies and an on-boarding process. —Eric Allyn #successfulgenerations


[Regarding raising financially responsible kids] One horrible word that you have to prevent: entitlement. —Eric Allyn #successfulgenerations


Resources mentioned in this episode:

Welch Allyn

John L. Ward, PH.D.

Family Office Exchange

J.P. Morgan Private Bank


Rockefeller Capital Management

Regional family business centers