Honoring Peter Christman: A Legacy of Dedication and Innovation

Peter Chirstman smiling into microphone

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Peter Christman, a founding pillar of the Exit Planning Institute® (EPI). Peter's remarkable contributions have left an indelible mark on our organization and the broader community. 

A Lifelong Commitment to Excellence 

Throughout his career, Pete exemplified dedication, innovation, and leadership. His work at EPI® was driven by a passion for enhancing employee productivity and well-being. Peter's vision and commitment helped shape EPI into a leading authority in the field. 

Pete was also known for his work outside of EPI. As the Founder and CEO of the Christman Group - Value Enhancement Inc., he was a trailblazer, developing proprietary processes that remain industry models. His books, including "The Master Plan" and "The Ten Trillion Opportunity," co-authored with Rich Jackim, are widely referenced in the field. 

Pioneering the Field of Exit Planning 

Pete's journey into exit planning began in early 2001 when he realized that many business owners were unprepared for life after selling their businesses. He noticed that “Advisors were working in silos. You've got your legal silos, you've got your accounting silos, your consulting silos, and the silos were not communicating with each other. But those silos have a role in the exit planning process. So, what's wrong with this picture? They're not communicating and they're losing out on assignments and helping their clients and so on.” 

Recognizing this gap, he sought to develop a more holistic approach to exit planning, addressing personal, business, and financial considerations. This vision led him to co-found the Exit Planning Institute in 2005 with Richard Jackim, aiming to provide resources and education to advisors in this emerging field. He said that “Originally, I developed exit planning as a marketing tool from my M&A practice. And I wanted to expose these other silos to the exit planning process and educate them to the opportunities that were available to them.”. 

In 2007, EPI launched the Certified Exit Planning Advisor® (CEPA) credentialing program, a groundbreaking initiative designed to educate advisors on the intricacies of exit planning. When talking about those first 20 or so CEPAs, Pete said that “One of the problems was that when they were done with that week, they were exhausted! They knew everything they could about exit planning, but we didn't fully teach them how to implement that by going out on the street and talking to business owners. And I think that was lacking for a long time.”.  

Pete went on to sell EPI in 2012 to Chris and Scott Snider, who have grown the CEPA® program into a cornerstone of the industry, shaping the careers of countless professionals.  

Looking Forward 

When asked about business owners today, Pete had some advice for every CEPA. He says that “Owner(s) need a well-qualified CEPA.”. Pete says that his biggest advice for CEPAs is that “You've got to be able to sit down, no pressure very loose, and sit down with that business owner and ask them a question and then SHUT UP!”. He goes on to say that “If you follow that advice, I can guarantee your success. Because the more questions you ask and the more he responds to it, the smarter you get in his mind.” 

When asked where he thinks EPI is heading in the next 10 years, Pete says “It’s heading in the direction of a CEPA being a profession like a CPA or Lawyer”.  

We invite you to watch the interview with Pete, where he discusses his life's work and shares his thoughts on the future. The video below captures his spirit and dedication, providing a lasting tribute to his achievements. 


A Personal Tribute 

Pete's colleagues and friends remember him as a mentor and a visionary. His ability to connect with people and his unwavering commitment to his work made him a respected and beloved figure.  

Peter Christman will be deeply missed, but his legacy will continue to inspire and guide us. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.