Nashville | The Challenges of Succession Planning for Private Companies

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
07:30 AM - 09:00 AM CST
Lipscomb University, Paul Rogers Board Room, Ezell Center
1 University Park Drive
Nashville, TN 37204



Most founders and owners of privately owned companies face a challenge when it comes time to pass the baton or exit the business. Usually it’s the first time they deal head on with this existential question. Hear how two iconic Nashville family businesses have and have not used their independent directors for guidance on this issue.

H.G. Hill Realty Company

Formed in 1896 as a grocery business, the founder began focusing on real estate in 1926. Since then, through six generations, the firm has grown to become a leading real estate owner, operator and developer of over 2 million square feet.

Hunt Brothers Pizza

This company’s roots go back to 1962 when it sold pizza supplies to restaurants. In 1990, the 4 founding brothers moved on to become the largest brand of made to order pizzas in convenience stores, serving over 7,000 locations in 29 states and 3 foreign countries. Now run by the second generation owners, the Company is committed to maintaining its status as a family owned and operating enterprise.


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James W. Granbery, (Jimmy)
H.G. Hill Realty Company, LLC

Jimmy Granbery is a fourth generation family member of 123-year-old H.G. Hill Company and serves as the company's fourth chief executive officer. He was named CEO in 2002 following nine years as vice president of development for H.G. Hill Realty, taking the helm three years after the company exited the grocery business in 1999. He oversees the company's privately held real estate portfolio that includes more than two million square feet.

An active member of the real estate industry, Granbery serves as vice chair for development on the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) Board of Commissioners, and served as chair of the Nashville District of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) from 2014-2017. He is a member of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

Granbery's community involvement includes serving as chair of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee Board and serving on the Martin Methodist College Board. He is also the founding director of the ACE mentoring program.

Celeste Patterson, CPA, CCIM
H.G. Hill Realty Company

Celeste Patterson joined H.G. Hill Realty in 1999.  She has served as H.G. Hill’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer from 2002 to 2015 when she was named President. She also serves as board director of the 123-year old private commercial real estate development company. She played a pivotal role in developing financial systems to maximize the company’s real estate holdings after they exited from 100 years in the grocery business. Before coming to Hill, Patterson worked for 11 years with Eckenfelder/Brown and Caldwell as CFO and before that for 4 years at Sunstates/TRECO in Jacksonville, Florida.  She started her career with Ernst & Young in Knoxville, Tennessee and Jacksonville, Florida.

An active participant within her industry and the community, Patterson is a member and past president of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of CCIM; a member and past president of FEI; served as treasurer for the Renewal House from 2009 to 2015; was board director of the Civic Urban Design Center from 2004 to 2009; and served as Girl Scout Troop Leader from 2002 to 2014 where she has earned several recognitions including volunteer of excellence and leader of the year.  She is currently on the board of Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee serving as Vice Chair, NAIOP and Youth Leadership Brentwood having served as chair in 2017 and a member of ICSC and the Economic Club of Nashville.  She was a member of the Leadership Brentwood Class of 2012 and the Leadership Nashville Class of 2014.

Patterson earned both her B.S. in accounting and masters of accountancy from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


Scott Hunt 
Chief Executive Officer
Hunt Brothers Pizza, LLC

Scott Hunt is Chief Executive Officer of multiple companies under the Hunt Brothers Pizza umbrella including Hunt Brothers Pizza, LLC. He is blessed to be surrounded by the most talented and passionate team in the pizza industry. His top priority is to develop people, provide vision and support as they prepare the company for continued success in the competitive pizza and c-store space.

Mr. Hunt was born and raised in Nashville. A member of St. Henry’s Catholic Church, Mr. Hunt resides in Nashville with his wife, Patricia, and their two adult children Miller and Robinson.


Bryan Meng
Chief Operating Officer
Hunt Brothers Pizza, LLC

Bryan Meng is Chief Operating Officer of Hunt Brothers Pizza, LLC, and a second generation owner of DBH Distributing, LLC, based in Nashville, TN. He is a nephew of the
first-generation Hunt brothers and worked closely with them as the business was forming and growing. He moved to Nashville in 1994 when the business was in the early years and has been part of the evolution from the first to second generation leadership, and the transition from a purely entrepreneurial organization to the acknowledged industry leader. He is currently responsible for areas of operations, purchasing, technology, corporate sales, training and R & D of the business. He is part of the executive management team that provides direction and guidance for the entire organization, and is a board member of Southeastern Tank, Inc.

Bryan is a native of Evansville, Indiana and graduated from the University of Southern Indiana. He is the proud father of two daughters & one son; Lilly, Kayla and Blake.



Dr. Bill Bellet
Clinical & Consulting Psychologist

Bill is in the “relationship business” as a Clinical and Consulting Psychologist.  He specializes in conflict resolution, family-owned business intergeneration transitions, succession and governance, strategic planning, coaching/leadership development, and relationship issues which arise between partners and family members in privately held companies. He also assists organizations in the selection and retention of their best talent, designs performance management systems for accountability and alignment of individual and corporate goals. He has conducted well over 5000 pre-employment and executive vocational evaluations; designed and implemented employee and customer satisfaction surveys for over 750 firms worldwide.

Bill served as Vice President with Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) in Operations and Business Development in Europe and Southeast Asia. He co-founded and directed the Center for Family Business at Belmont University. For thirty years he has maintained a private clinical and consulting practice working with individuals, families, businesses and coordinating the work of other professional service providers with his clients. His clinical work focuses on marriage and family counseling.  He is a skilled facilitator of the family communication process.

Bill serves on the boards of several privately-held business and non-profit organization boards.  He has published multiple articles in many professional journals.  He has been an active Rotarian for over twenty years.  Bill and his wife Marie regularly conduct joint presentations and seminars on marriage and parenting in the U.S., Canada and Central America.