Business is Passed from Father to Son


Earl G. Graves Sr., founder of Black Enterprise magazine, named Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. as the company’s new CEO and president.


The news came during the time of the younger Graves’ 44th birthday, the Maynard Institute reported, which marked a passing of the family torch at one of the few, remaining black-owned publications.


“Those who advance at Earl G. Graves Ltd.-whether family or not-must earn their position,” the senior Graves said of his son in a statement. “And, over the last two decades, he has had to deal with an ultra competitive and rapidly changing publishing environment; covert and overt racism that continues to pervade our society and institutions; and, lastly, a boss-me-who can be quite an unyielding taskmaster. But not only did Butch thrive despite the challenges, he grew into a leader and change agent within our company and the industry.”


Butch Graves is excited about the opportunity to succeed his father as CEO of Black Enterprise.


“My mission is to build upon the success of what he established, while finding new media outlets that will grow our business and demonstrate all things possible to our core audience,” the younger Graves told blackenterprise.com.


Howard University Professor Yanick Rice-Lamb, former editor-in-chief of Heart & Soul, said she thinks the younger Graves will remain true to Black Enterprise’s mission.


“It should be a win-win situation,” Rice-Lamb said. “In some cases, a younger person may bring in new technology or take advantage of new developments that the industry’s going into or [may] acquire other businesses.”


According to the Maynard Institute, Butch Graves “led the company into broadcast media with the launch of The Black Enterprise Report, a nationally syndicated television show, and Black Enterprise Magazine’s Keys to a Better Life report for radio, a joint venture with Clear Channel Communications.


Under his guidance, the publication’s circulation grew from 200,000 to more than 500,000 because of his intense editorial focus on wealth building and homeownership, blackenterprise.com reported.


He also created the concept of the company’s private equity firm, Black Enterprise/Greenwich Street Corporate Growth Partners, which primarily invests in established, minority-owned businesses.


Graves Sr. will continue serving as chairman and publisher of Black Enterprise. He will continue coaching his son “as he faces myriad business challenges.”


Rice-Lamb said it was good that Graves, Sr.allowed Butch Graves to take greater responsibility while he is still around to provide feedback.


“Sometimes people don’t have a succession plan-the person who started [the business] dies, and then their children or the other employees don’t have the know-how to keep the company running, she said.


Black Enterprise has been the premier business and investment resource for African Americans since its inception in 1970, blackenterprise.com reported. The publication provides 3.7 million readers with monthly information on entrepreneurship, careers, and financial management.