Tuesday, June 18, 2024 Jun 18, 2024
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You Need to Know: James Olan Hutcheson

The CEO of ReGeneration Partners keeps family matters from blowing up in the boardroom.
photography by Joshua Martin

Title: Founder and CEO of ReGENERATION Partners, a consulting group devoted to family-owned and managed enterprises.

Why you need to know him: Because you need a big-game hunter when an “elephant in the room” follows you from a family gathering to the boardroom.

Hutcheson says the elephants his firm hunts can be anything from alcoholism and drug addiction to succession issues and divorce.
“It’s hard to maneuver if you don’t address real problems,” he says. “We really work where other professionals don’t go.”

Hutcheson speaks from experience that includes degrees in psychology, sociology, and an MBA, as well as 18 years as president of family-run Olan Mills Portrait Studios, one of the country’s largest portrait photography operations.

The first step in resolving family-business problems is building trust and confidence in all parties involved, Hutcheson says.

Then a series of confidential, one-on-one interviews are conducted to draw out the touchiest of taboo subjects.

Finally, family members meet to work through their issues together.

Stan Baxter, former president and chairman of Baxter & Sons Elevator Co., says ReGENERATION helped his firm come to grips with “family discord” and a succession controversy.

Hutcheson is a “very, very wise man in all facets of business and family dynamics,” Baxter says. “I wish we had hired him 10 years earlier.”