Chapter 9Father's FootstepsThe Stories of Richard Edelman, Andrew Likierman, and Chris Burggraeve

Photo of Richard Edelman.

At age 23, Richard Edelman faced a difficult decision. Fresh out of business school and determined to forge his own path to success, he was planning to join Playtex, a consumer package goods company. But then a phone call changed everything. His father, who had started a small PR company in Chicago 26 years earlier, had received a buy-out offer from a larger competitor. Accepting the bid would allow him to retire comfortably and leave behind the worries and stress that came with managing a company. There was only one problem: Edelman Sr. didn't want to sell. He wanted his son to try public relations, and eventually take over the company. Was Richard supposed to follow in his father's footsteps or stick with his own plan?1

Andrew Likierman wasn't much older than Richard Edelman when in 1969, at age 27, he faced a similar choice. His family had been in the textile business since his grandfather started a textile plant in the nineteenth century. Fearing the Nazi regime, his grandfather had fled Romania in 1936, and started all over in Lancashire, England, with a new weaving factory called Qualitex. Since then, Likierman's father and siblings had taken over and grown the business into a midsize enterprise employing a few thousand workers. Then, as the company expanded overseas, Likierman ...

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