This paper studies the factors that influence the CEO succession decision in family firms
whose incumbent CEO is a member of the controlling family. The sample includes all
such firms from France, Germany and the UK. We propose a new measure of directors?
independence, which adjusts for various links with the controlling family. While we find that conventionally defined directors?
independence has no impact on the CEO succession decision, our corrected measure reduces the likelihood of the successor being another family member. There is also evidence that firms from France that are cross-listed in the UK or USA are less likely to appoint another family CEO.