• By: OLM Staff

A Wake-up Call for Businesses

Why a lack of succession planning could cost them their future

Nearly five years ago, ‘The Great Resignation’ phenomenon took the world by storm and although the global economy has since stabilized, another resignation wave is looming on the horizon as the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation transitions to retirement. Subsequently, the workforce is shifting into a younger demographic with different skills and experiences, leading to potential gaps in knowledge transfer, leadership continuity, and specialized expertise.

Employers must adapt by investing in training programs, succession planning, and attracting talent from diverse age groups to ensure a smooth transition and maintain organizational effectiveness. However, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, a staggering 76 percent of Canadian business owners plan to exit their companies within the next decade, representing a transfer of over $2 trillion in assets. Considering only 10 percent of business owners have a formal succession plan in place, this lack of foresight could pose a significant threat to the Canadian economy.

BFL CANADA: A Case Study in Succession Planning

BFL CANADA, a leader in risk management, insurance brokerage, and employee benefits consulting, has established itself as a leader in proactive succession planning, thanks to its Founder and CEO, Barry F. Lorenzetti. He recognizes the importance of planning for the future and perpetuation of the company, and of cultivating succession.

In 2009, he scouted out Lisa Giannone as a potential future leader and over the next 15 years, provided her experience across various departments, in a number of senior positions. This breadth of exposure provided Giannone with a comprehensive understanding of BFL CANADA’s operations and its company culture. In 2018, a formal succession planning committee was put into place to ensure a strong future for the organization. This committee identified senior leaders and went through an extensive selection process from which Giannone was recommended as President and COO.

Employees were also made aware of Giannone’s trajectory, and this transparency fostered a sense of trust and allowed the company time to adjust to new leadership, ensuring a seamless transition. In January 2023, six months after a company-wide announcement, Giannone assumed the position.

Giannone’s extensive experience within BFL CANADA ensured she hit the ground running. Employees, already familiar with her leadership style, embraced the change.

Lessons Learned from BFL CANADA

BFL CANADA’s experience offers valuable insights for other businesses facing leadership transitions. Here are some key takeaways:

• Start Early: Don’t wait until retirement is imminent. Identify potential successors well in advance and begin their development.
• Develop a Well-Rounded Leader: Expose potential successors to various departments and functions within the company
• Transparency is Key: Communicate the succession plan to employees to avoid uncertainty and build confidence.
• Focus on Mentorship: Provide guidance and challenges to help your chosen successor hone their leadership skills.

By following these steps, businesses can ensure a smooth leadership transition, minimize disruption, and position themselves for continued success in the face of a changing workforce landscape. In today’s dynamic business environment, a well-defined succession plan is no longer an added option; it’s a critical element of long-term business strategy.


Founded in 1987 by Barry F. Lorenzetti, BFL CANADA is one of the largest employee-owned and operated Risk Management, Insurance Brokerage, and Employee Benefits consulting services firms in North America. The firm has a team of over 1,300 professionals located in twenty-six cities across the country. BFL CANADA is a founding Partner of Lockton Global LLP, a partnership of independent insurance brokers who provide Risk Management, Insurance and Benefits Consulting services in over 140 countries around the world.

For more information on BFL CANADA, visit bflcanada.ca or follow them on LinkedIn, X and Facebook.