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AFLAC Prospers under Family Leadership

American Family Life Assurance Co. (AFLAC) prospers under family leadership headed by a second-generation family member. Headquartered in Columbus, GA and best known for a duck that quacks its name, AFLAC is one of America’s most respected insurance companies.

In 1990, on his 39th birthday, Dan Amos succeeded his uncle as CEO. Since then, he’s increased the value of a share of AFLAC stock by 1265%, quadrupled sales to $9.7 billion, improved profits to $687 million from $80.8 million, and doubled AFLAC’s workforce to 5000.

Dan prepared himself for leadership of the family business. He studied insurance at the University of Georgia. After returning to the company, he managed a territory that became AFLAC’s top producer two years in a row. Two years before his death, John Amos, Dan’s uncle, announced that his nephew was “best qualified to succeed me as chief executive.”

According to a recent article in the Columbus (GA) Ledger-Enquirer, a couple of years after Amos became CEO, Paul Amos, his father and AFLAC board chairman, asked, “Danny, why don’t we sell AFLAC? ... He looked at me firmly and said, ‘Dad, I never want to sell this company.’”

About 72% of American Family’s revenues come from Japan. In his book Winning the Global Game, Emory University professor Jeffrey Rosensweig explains AFLAC’s Asian success: “Profits flowed only after years of patience, during which trusting relationships and multicultural understanding were given time to develop.”

Patience and trusting relationships are two key competitive advantages that we believe can characterize family businesses.

 

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