3 Lessons Learned from Succession Plan at Kingery Corporation

The recent NAPL News Talk Live program on Exit Strategy had an M&A-orientation because “sale of business” has overtaken “gifting to children” as the roadmap of choice in the print, mail and graphics communications industry.

The one panelist on the webinar who implemented a non- M&A succession plan is John Kingery, Chairman of Kingery Printing Corporation.

Succession planning was the farthest thing from John Kingery’s mind until a day in 1991 when he realized that the government would end up with substantial wealth that otherwise would go to his family. Simply, Kingery Printing had become too profitable to risk passing away without a plan for minimizing estate taxes.

The roots of Kingery Printing can be traced to a part-time job 16-year-old John landed while a junior in high school: melting lead ingots and sweeping floors at Worman Printery/The Teutopolis Press in Teutopolis, Illinois. At the age of 24, John founded Kingery Printing in Effingham, Illinois. It was at this time he saw the need to change from hot type (letterpress) to cold type (offset) and to become more customer focused. Kingery Printing grew from a one man shop to a 150 employees operating web and sheet-fed equipment.

John and his wife started gifting, for estate planning purposes, at the age of 47. After 22 years of gifting and the children purchasing a portion of the company stock from John (with the help of an NAPL Business Valuation, I should add), as of 2012, the shares of stock are owned by his nine children and John serves as the Chairman of the Board.

3 Lessons Learned from John Kingery’s succession plan are:

1. Get expert professional help from a trusted advsior such as a CPA or lawyer or industry consultant

2. Stay focused on your goals (for example, tax minimization requires periodic revisiting of the plan in light of changing tax laws)

3. Attention to detail in management of the company provides solid groundwork for business valuations that support stock transfer