Jim Ethier, Chairman of the Board, Bush Brothers & Company interviewed by Carrie Hall, EY Americas Family Business Leader

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Session recap

With a century of heritage behind it, there’s much to learn from Bush Brothers & Company—and its leader Jim Ethier, Chairman of the Board, when it comes to family business wisdom. Particularly as these companies grow and are passed down to future generations, you have to address three must-haves for a family business: a strategic plan, a family plan and an estate plan.

Maintaining a board that’s independent is helpful on two main counts: it challenges you and provides some good criticism. Plus you have the added bonus that it helps you run the company. The right board is there for you, to help the company grow, so be willing to accept their counsel (and that of other peers). This is vital for family businesses, which sometimes run the risk of being myopic.

Education plays a key role in making your family business the best it can be. While it’s important to learn about business leadership and best practices, leading a family business requires that you’re educated – and educate others – on the responsibilities involved in running that business, its values and aims.

Jim Ethier, Chairman of the Board, Bush Brothers & Company interviewed by Carrie Hall, EY Americas Family Business Leader



Jim Ethier speaks at EY Strategic Growth Forum

Jim Ethier
Chairman of the Board
Bush Brothers & Company

A third-generation member of the Bush family, Jim is Chairman of Bush Brothers & Company, the nation’s leading brand of bean products. Founded in 1908 by Andrew Jackson Bush, the company is headquartered in Knoxville. Jim’s board service includes companies in the food industry, family businesses, educational entities and nonprofit organizations. He received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Food Products Association in 2005 and the Family Enterprise Leadership Award from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University in 2012. His undergraduate degree is from Georgetown University, and his MBA is from the Kellogg School.

Interviewed by


Carrie Hall speaks at EY Strategic Growth Forum

Carrie Hall
EY Americas Family Business Leader

Carrie Hall is an assurance partner in Ernst & Young LLP’s Atlanta office and is the global EY organization’s Americas Family Business Leader. She oversees Ernst & Young LLP’s services to family-owned business across the Southeast Region. Carrie has worked with entrepreneurial family-owned businesses for over 26 years, providing audits and advising on matters such as growth strategies and sustainability, and she has served as Ernst & Young LLP’s Southeast Region Strategic Growth Markets Leader. She has assisted in acquisitions, divestitures, and debt and equity transactions, including initial public offerings. Her clients have included some of the largest family businesses in the Southeast, with a retail industry focus.