Tommy Fulton of Mobile, Alabama is enjoying life these days. In fact, he’s having a ball.
But not long ago, Fulton was embattled. As the third generation president of a family firm, he was forced into a bitter six-year battle with a minority shareholder for control of the business. It didn’t help his cause in the local courts that the minority shareholder was then-U.S. Congressman Sonny Callahan.
Fulton temporarily lost control of the company to Callahan. But he eventually prevailed when the case was appealed to the Alabama State Supreme Court. The fascinating details of the battle were chronicled in Fulton’s very readable book “An Act of Congress.”
One result of the struggle was the founding of The Forum for Family Business. Fulton told this writer that he started the Forum as a platform to emphasize, “the critically important family issues of communication, succession and preservation.”
And today Fulton has embarked on a new career as a professional speaker. He is in demand nationally and is zealous in talking to his audiences about the critical importance of succession planning to the survival of privately held businesses. You can tell he speaks from experience.
You can also tell he’s having a lot of fun.