Family Business

Five ways to get the most out of family assemblies

Shareholders often span different generations in long-consolidated family firms, and not all play an active role in the business. In these cases, family assemblies are a vital conduit to bringing people together and up to date on the company’s activity and strategy. Family assemblies aim to bridge the divide between family members on the front…

Leschaco, bridging borders since 1879

Constantin Conrad (MBA-18) and Charlotte Conrad Palermo (PMD-23) share their experiences as third-generation leaders of the Leschaco Group, a global logistics service provider with operations in 24 countries and €1.2 billion in annual revenues. The origins of our family business date back to the late 1940s, when our grandfather Herbert Conrad joined Lexzau Scharbau as…

The role of an external director

In my last article published in October 2023, I raised the issue of external directors by saying they could either be independent or not. It’s not a question of how much they’re paid, as some people think: it’s far more complex and multidimensional than that. Let’s start by clarifying these two concepts. External versus independent…

Trust and communication, the keys to higher productivity

Declining productivity is a constant concern for both governments and companies, especially small- and medium-sized ones. And it’s no wonder: private enterprises generate over 80% of jobs in developed countries, and 90% in developing economies. Many employers wonder if hybrid work formats are to blame for this decline, or at least struggle to define effective…

Gender wage gap: fixing the ladder's broken rung

Numerous studies blame gender-based job segregation for the stubborn gender wage gap. However, women who do the same work as men in the same company are still not paid the same as their male counterparts. This El País article highlights the findings of my rececent study with Prof. Isabel Villamor on the primary drivers of…

McKinsey: 4+5 equals FOB outperformance

Recent research by McKinsey confirms the adaptability, resilience and impact of family-owned firms, whose structures and best practices leave them uniquely equipped to navigate business challenges in uncertain times. According to the authors, family firms that combine four critical mindsets with five strategic actions have the capacity to quadruple their business value in the next…

Pension priorities: the impact of family ties on ethical decision making

With corporate responsibility gaining traction around the world, more and more business leaders are considering the ethical dimensions of management. Among global scholars, pension funding is one of the hot-button topics under review. Employee pension schemes are common in the U.S. and might soon expand in Europe, where governments are considering hybrid models to solve…

A conversation with Ibukun Awosika

I recently had the great honor of interviewing Ibukun Awosika for IESE's This Is Real Leadership podcast. Ibukun Awosika has had a long and illustrious career as an entrepreneur, leader, speaker, former president of First Bank of Nigeria and author of several books, including The Girl Entrepreneur. In this episode, we discuss authentic leadership, decision-making…

7 ways to alleviate tension in the family council

The family council is the ideal forum for owner families to reach consensus on the core decisions regarding their business. It is the preventive mechanism par excellence to analyze, discuss and debate critical issues, and make solid decisions based on shared criteria and commitment. In this way, family councils serve as firewalls, preventing conflicts from…

Evolving perspectives on ownership in family firms

In traditional economic-based views on governance, owners are often portrayed in a somewhat passive role, with an emphasis on the incentive structures they install to motivate employees and other key stakeholders. Under these frameworks, owners provide financial resources, while management–driven by the right incentives–execute day-to-day operations to create value. Yet this perspective fails to fully…

8 pillars of a professional board of directors

Robust corporate governance systems in family firms shouldn’t be any different than those in well-managed non-family firms – at least in theory. In practice, it’s another story. Boards of directors in family businesses have adjacent psychological and psychosocial dimensions, and disregarding these dynamics can easily lead to tensions among board members. During my tenure as…

Family firms see their largest growth increase in 15 years

Family-owned firms reported their largest growth increase in 15 years according to the 11th PwC Global Family Business Survey, carried out across 82 countries between October 2022 and January 2023. Strong values, employee communication and digital capabilities are among the traits shared by top-performing family firms. PwC Global Family Business Survey   Homepage image: Jonathan…

Seven communication insights for entrepreneurial families

At the start of a new academic year, let me first extend a warm welcome to everyone! The Chair of Family Business team is back, with our batteries fully charged and ready to continue offering you new insights and ideas to boost your firm’s performance. For my first article of 2023-24, I would like to…

Corporate governance in family firms

By their nature as family-owned, some family businesses think they can be more familiar and informal in their approach, and less commercial and regimented. This confusion can lead their operations to move in one direction and business formalities in the other. As a result, their corporate governance structures – shareholder and board meetings, for instance…

How employee incentives drive innovation in family firms

Innovation is the name of the game in today’s hypercompetitive markets: in order to survive, companies need to continuously innovate their products, processes and operations. Based on conventional wisdom, family-owned firms are at a disadvantage in this regard, with risk aversion, conservative attitudes, organizational rigidity and limited capital commonly cited as obstacles to innovation. At…

How family firms are guiding the sustainability journey

Stakeholder capitalism has gone mainstream with the rise of the sustainability agenda. For family businesses, the fundamentals of shared value are well-known and woven throughout the family capitalism business model. As explored in the newly released KMPG report "A Road Well-Traveled," family businesses have a unique opportunity to take a leadership role in guiding others…

The purpose of work: when productivity becomes a religion

Guest contributor: Carolyn Chen Sociologist · Author · Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of California-Berkeley · Co-Director of the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion Much has been written about the role of purpose in the realm of family business. But what happens when organizations take it too far? Prof. Carolyn Chen explores the…

Roqueta Origen, a legacy of wine-growing entrepreneurs

Ramon Roqueta Segalés is a winemaker, agricultural engineer and CEO of the Roqueta Origen Group. A fifth-generation member of "wine-growing entrepreneurs,” he shares how the business has grown since its creation in the 12th century. I have the privilege of leading the Roqueta Origen group, a group of small wineries with distinct brands and identities.…

Succession and family vision

Succession is the most critical challenge faced by family businesses since it touches the very heart of family and firm: its foundational bricks and future legacy. It’s difficult because it affects people – predecessors and successors, the company and the owner family – as well as complex since it can impact all three different spheres…
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