VANCOUVER, B.C. -- When building a succession plan, the best $10,000 a dealer principal can spend is on comprehensive tax advice, says Moray Keith, who’s grown the Dueck Auto Group to a $300-$400 million business since taking ownership in 1986.
“You’re not going to avoid paying taxes, but you can plan your way through it and it’s worth spending the money to do so,” says Keith, 60, who purchased Dueck in 1986 after leaving his store in Okotoks, Alta. The Dueck business has since grown to three large stores, including one in Vancouver’s downtown core.
Keith began to seriously consider succession planning more than a decade ago when son Greg, 36, joined the business after his dreams of playing professional hockey were dashed by a shoulder injury. Greg Keith is now a senior vice president of the Dueck Group. A daughter, Courtney, is not directly involved in day-to-day operations, but participates fully in the family’s annual “meetings.”
In the early 2000s, it was not clear what role either Keith child would play in the Dueck Group’s future. Keith himself was uncertain about the fate of the business as he looked ahead to age 65, a traditional retirement age. That’s where his succession planning began.