Although family-owned business succession has been widely researched, very few studies investigate the relationship between preperformance and succession. Drawing on the agency and the resource-based view theories, we investigate how previous firm performance may influence the nomination of a family or a nonfamily member to top senior positions. We argue that positive firm performance will lead to the nomination of a family member, while negative firm performance leads to nonfamily nominations. Using a stepwise logistic regression with a bootstrap procedure on a sample of nonfinancial firm listed in the Spanish Stock Exchange, the results indicate that performance prior to succession does not affect these nominations, while directive experience does. © 2010 International Council for Small Business.