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Family-Owned and Acquisitive: 7 Acquisitions in 7 years


In today’s episode, Peter Lehrman sits down with Chris Gallagher, CEO of Gallagher Fluid Seals, a family-owned distributor and manufacturer of fluid sealing products. Chris worked in the family business on the factory floor in his teens and returned to the business after a significant chapter in strategy consulting. In January 2017, the company executed the next phase of its succession plan, with Chris’ uncle retiring and Chris becoming Gallagher’s next CEO.    

In a wide-ranging and highly authentic conversation, Chris discusses: 

  • The stop and start acquisition history of Gallagher and why that’s changing
  • Lessons learned from the first acquisition Chris led
  • How Chris navigates family-owned shareholder dynamics 
  • Techniques for winning deals and building relationships in M&A
  • Re-investing in Gallagher versus distributing dividends
  • Strategies for effectively sourcing and integrating acquisitions
  • The impact of outside board members on Chris’ development as a CEO

We hope you enjoy the episode, which is produced by the team at Axial ( Axial is an online deal sourcing platform that makes it easy for business owners to confidentially research and connect with top-ranked M&A advisors and capital partners. I am your host, Peter Lehrman, founder and CEO of Axial. In every episode, we aim to explore the vast world of small business M&A, interviewing both the proven and the emerging owners, operators, investors, and advisors whose strategies and methods for building successful private companies are being put to the test.

If you enjoy the podcast, give us a review on Apple or Spotify. If you’d like to go deeper, head to, where there are dozens of recorded Axial member roundtables, downloadable tools for dealmakers, M&A advisor rankings, and lots of other useful information for owners exploring exits and acquisitions. If you’re a business owner, professional acquirer, or M&A advisor, you can start using Axial for free at

Click the link below to join the podcast newsletter list, where we’ll notify you each time a new episode gets published.

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Gallagher Fluid Seals

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