CORPORATIONS: Father Knows Best

The world's largest producer and retailer of apparel, Nashville-based Genesco is a family business run with Tennessee savvy by W. (for Walton) Maxey Jarman and his son Franklin, 40. It was a proud day for Maxey when, at 65, he turned over the chairmanship to Franklin three years ago. Quipped Franklin then: "Dad is getting out at a good time."

Those were prophetic words in the light of Genesco's—and the Jarmans' —present situation. As is often the case when a strong-willed patriarch turns over power to his son, relations between the two have become strained. Maxey, an abstemious Southern Baptist who...

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