Late last year, Family Capital sent out a survey to its readers asking them to nominate who they felt were the most influential individuals in the world of family enterprises. We were looking for a wide gambit of names from different backgrounds, both linked directly to family enterprises and those in an advisory role in the sector. We received more than 2000 responses.
Through these responses and our own knowledge of the world of both family businesses and family office – indeed, the world of family capital – we were able to draw up a list of the Top 100 Influences. These are the individuals who our readers and Family Capital believe are the most influential people in the family enterprise world. No doubt some readers might think others merit inclusion and some on the list might not, but Family Capital believes the 100 names represent a pretty good cross-section of the Top Influencers in the sector.
Here is the final list
Is there a better story that portrays family succession? Is there a better story that portrays the dangers of dividing an empire/business? Is there a better story that portrays how unwise it is to over-estimate the obsequious nature of offspring and underestimate the less favoured ones? We could go on.
King Lear has got it all and more when it comes to the emotional side and power struggles that beset most family dynasties and businesses. It should be mandatory reading for family members of business dynasties no matter how large or small.
Lear’s resonance remains as great today as it has ever been and family business dynasties remain at the heart of that resonance. Just last week, King Lear was mentioned in the many obituaries for the family business patriarch and media magnate Sumner Redstone. Many writers of those obituaries called Redstone: “The Media’s Larger-Than-Life King Lear”.
King Lear will never go away as a morality tale of the madness of too much power, the unfaithfulness of the next-gen, the merits and demerits of breaking up an empire/business… And it’s a morality tale that has special significance to family enterprises – that’s why the King is one of Family Capital’s 100 Family Influencers.
Charles Foster Kane/Citizen Kane
Many of the great film and literary characters are often based on real-world characters. And Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane is one of the most pertinent ever. The film, often viewed by critics as the greatest ever made, stars a mesmerizing Orsen Wells playing Kane, who is loosely based on the American newspaper baron, William Randolph Hearst. Like Hearst, Kane inherits a fortune and goes on to build a bigger, wealthier, and more powerful dynasty.
In many ways, Kane is the archetypical second-generation scion who goes on the create a bigger empire than the first with extraordinary energy and verve. Of course, Kane is ultimately destroyed by his greed and lust for power. And what appears to be his only memory of significant, despite all his business and political successes, is the sledge called Rosebud.
Perhaps a lament for a simpler, must less materialistic life? Whatever the meaning of Rosebud, and it will be continuously debated, Citizen Kane is a seminal portrayal of a business dynasty and for that reason, Citizen Kane is one of Family Capital’s 100 Influencers.
For anyone of a certain age who remembers the 1980s, J.R. Ewing was as ubiquitous as any TV character that’s ever been portrayed. Forever immortalized by his Texan ten-gallon hat, J.R. Ewing, played by actor Larry Hagman, was the brash, immoral second-generation son of a family oil dynasty.
In the background of the series is the constant rivalry between two family dynasties – the Ewings and the Barnes, with added intrigue given the founder generation characters John “Jock” Ewing and Willard “Digger” Barnes were originally business partners before falling out. It’s up to the next generation to take this bitterness to a much higher level, which is done with such great effect by J.R. Ewing and his siblings.
Was Dallas a King Lear for the late 20th century as much as Succession is today? Probably not, the family empire angle is probably less obvious in Dallas than Succession and the nastiness a lot less subtle in the Texan melodrama. But JR Ewing and the family rivalry in Dallas has King Lear overtones and merits attention from the connoisseurs of family enterprise culture. And for that reason, JR Ewing is one of Family Capital’s 100 Influencers.
Logan Roy and the Roy family
When Succession first aired more than two years ago, it got scant recognition in the family enterprise world and even less in the wider world. But as the second series progressed, the now acclaimed HBO production broke through, becoming a contemporary classic – and absolute required viewing for anyone associated with the family enterprise world.
Through the lives of the Roy family and its patriarch, Logan Roy, Succession portrays the billionaire media family enterprise so well it’s almost as if you’re watching a fly on the wall documentary. Yes, there are sometimes over the top and comedic sketches, but it all seems so real. It’s brilliantly acted, specifically Brian Cox as the patriarch Logan Roy, and Kieran Culkin as one of Logan’s sons, Roman Roy.
The viewer, especially those who know a thing or two about family businesses, has a sneaking suspicion that most multi-billionaire dollar dynasties are actually as dysfunctional as the Roy family is portrayed, despite all the PR gloss. Succession and the Roy family is so apt and wonderfully to the culture of family enterprises – that’s why Logan Roy and the Roy family are together one of Family Capital’s 100 Influencers.
Professor in global family firms, Munich Business School
Marc-Michael Bergfeld is among a growing number of younger family business academics that have gained a stellar reputation over the last 10 years. One of the youngest appointed business professors when he took the job at the Munich School of Business in the late 2000s, the German academic has since gone on to develop a thriving consulting business with Courage Partners. Much of his consulting is done in Asia and Latin America, and before the Covid pandemic, Bergfeld was known as one of the most travelled family business academics as flew across the world advising family enterprises.
Bergfeld has been a consistent critic of his home country’s family business community slowness to adapt to the disruptive forces they all face. As he told Family Capital a few years ago: “Many Mittelstand companies are still looking inwards in terms of their markets and innovation, and relying too much on past success and the ‘Made in Germany’ fame. These companies will face a real threat to their existence. And this could be as many as 50% of them.”
Professor of corporate strategy, Bocconi University
Italy’s number one academic when it comes to the family businesses, Corbetta has developed a rightful reputation at the pantheon of his craft. Professor of corporate strategy at Bocconi University in Milan and chair of strategic management in family business, Corbetta also sits on the board of numerous family businesses in Italy. All this gives him unique insights into one of the most family business orientated economies in the world.
Professor of entrepreneurship, Bond University
With the retirement of Ken Moores, Craig is Australia’s foremost family business academic with a highly regarded international reputation as well. Taking up a professorship at Bond University in the Gold Coast, Australia last year, Craig spent four years as a family business professor at Kellogg School of Management, which further established his international credentials. Previously, he helped set up the Australian Centre for Family Business, and co-authored a few years ago with his mentor Moores: Leading a Family Business: Best Practices for Long-Term Stewardship, among many of his academic papers and publications.
MIT Sloan School of Management/Cambridge Family Enterprise Group
The academic who gave the world the Three Circles Model of Family Businesses, arguable the most influential theory on the organisation structure of a family business to date, Davis is considered one of the pioneers of family enterprise studies at business schools. For many years, his teaching was at Harvard Business School, but in 2018 he moved a few blocks away to teach at MIT, where he now leads the family enterprise programs at the Sloan School of Management.
Along the road of his academic career, Davis has also developed a thriving consultancy business channelled through the Cambridge Family Enterprise Group. At CFEG, Davis has attracted a group of highly talented academics and other senior management experts to help develop the group’s global consultancy business.
Professor emeritus, Saybrook University
Still very active in the world of family business consulting, Jaffe played an undisputed pivotal role in the evolution of family business studies at business schools and institutions in his more than 50 years of work connected to the sector. One of the founding members of the very influential Boston-based Family Firm Institute, Jaffe has recently turned his attention to a research project entitled 100-Year Family Enterprise research project. He also writes a regular column on family businesses for Forbes, as well as pursuing other consulting roles.
Chair/Professor, Family Businesses, WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management
Four years ago, Kammerlander made some prophetic remarks in a Family Capital ViewPoint about the digital economy and family businesses. The professor and chair of family business at the Institute of Family Business at WHU, Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany said: “Despite being everywhere, disturbingly, most family businesses are watching the digital phenomenon passively.”
She added: “But if they don’t change this attitude and actively embrace digitalisation soon family-owned companies are unlikely to have a business in a few years time, let alone one to pass on to the next generation.” Four years later
Kammerlander has since gone on to cement her reputation as a heavyweight in the German business school community with particular reference to family enterprises. Her work has concentrated on many aspects of the family enterprise world, including the importance of the nexus between the sector and innovation.
Director for family enterprise executive education programs, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
One of the three legends in the field of family business studies, the other two being professors John Davis and John Ward, Ivan Lansberg is an acknowledged great of the family enterprise academic world. Still associated with Kellogg School of Management, where he is the director for family enterprise executive education programs, Lansberg is also one of the co-founders of the advisory group Lansberg·Gersick & Associates. With considerable global experience in family businesses, those who nominated Lansberg say he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the sector as few others can.
Professor of Family Enterprise, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
Pendergast’s prestige in the world of family business studies became even more noticed when she was recently made the inaugural John L. Ward clinical professor of family enterprise and director of the Center for Family Enterprises at Kellogg School of Management.
Working for one of a handful of business schools in the world that have developed top expertise over many years and continuously in family enterprise studies and teaching, Pendergast has also plenty of practical experience to bring to her position. She previously gained top-level corporate and management consultancy experience as US leader for executive search firm Egon Zehnder.
An acknowledged specialist in strategic planning and business governance, Pendergast is one of the few family business academics who’s also gained an in-depth knowledge of the family office world, as those who nominated her point out.
Managing director, Witten Institute for Family Business, Witten/Herdecke University
Managing director of the Witten Institute for Family Business at the Witten/Herdecke University in Germany, Rüsen is one of a group of German family business academics and consultants at the top of their field in Europe’s biggest economy.
Rüsen has highlighted structural risks in family businesses in Germany. As he told Family Capital a few years ago: “It is well documented that the global transition of wealth is happening rapidly and the consequences of that transfer will be immense, not least in Germany. Here we are seeing many of the next generation of owners content to take on ownership of these businesses, but less happy to work on the operational side of them.”
Pramodita ‘Dita’ Sharma
Professor, family business, Grossman School of Business, University of Vermont
Acknowledged for her work in the family enterprise academia at multiple levels, Sharma has also worked hard to engage with students around the world in their family business studies. In 2013, the professor at Grossman School of Business introduced the now well established Family Enterprise Case Competition, which is gone on to be popular with students from across the world. Also, as editor of the prestigious Family Business Review for nearly 10 years, Sharma was instrumental in establishing the publication as one of the leading academic journals in the business world.
Executive director, Institute for Family Entrepreneurship, Babson College
Few family business academics come better qualified with real-world experience in the sector than Union. She took over the running of her family’s business Union Corrugating Company at just 27, turning its fortunes around as the company’s CEO. Her efforts in this respect were acknowledged in two Harvard Business School case studies.
Union joined Babson College two years ago, becoming founding executive director of the college’s innovation Institute for Family Entrepreneurship. Here Union has forged a greater understanding of how families can greater link their economic values with social ones as well, which has further helped to build her reputation as a formidable family business academic.
Professor of management and organizations, Stern School of Business, New York University
The professor of management and organizations at New York University’s Stern School of Business is one of the new wave of family enterprise academic experts at leading business schools who’ve gained a big reputation in recent years. Villalonga combines her skills as a family business expert with her joint professorship of finance at NYU. This gives her unique insights into areas like family offices, where Stern School of Business has developed expertise over the last few years through its family office council.
Professor of family business and entrepreneurship, IMD
In recent years, Vogel has emerged as one of the most respected professors working in the world of family businesses. Last year, he was appointed the new director of IMD’s prestigious Global Family Business Centre. Vogel, whose full title is professor of family business and entrepreneurship, and is also the holder of the Debiopharm chair for family philanthropy, represents a big part of IMD’s efforts to drive the business school’s already well-established reputation in the family enterprise sector forward.
Involved himself in startups, Vogel has combined his theoretical and real-world entrepreneurial skills to give unique insights into how family enterprises can better deal with the numerous disruptive forces they face in the world economy.
As he told Family Capital last year: “The first family business program was started at IMD, and we want to build on those strong foundations, but at the same time grow in other areas. We are moving more into being a long-term, trusted learning partner for family enterprises.” Those nominating Vogel say he’s part of a new wave of family business professors taking hold at the best business schools around the world.
Owner of Ferd
Andresen is one of Norway’s most admired businessmen, not least because of his social media profile and his big following on Twitter, but also for his ethical stance on many business and societal issues. Andresen owns Ferd, a family investment office like few others. Very transparent, big on the social-side of investing, big on values, and big on assets under management and the number of staff it employs, Ferd is a role model for family offices across the globe.
And it is very much of a single-family investment group, as Andresen told Family Capital a few years ago: “By taking in another family there will have to be a compromise of some sort. I’ve even said no to managing the funds of my siblings and my mother.”
From a storied family business dynasty in Norway, Andresen transformed the family business into a family investment group very successfully. In fact, how he did this along with his father in the 1990s is a good case study for any family business owners thinking of doing the same. As he told Family Capital: “In many cases, families elect to keep their core business and that remains their identity. The lesson here is that regardless of the ownership situation, you benefit greatly from having decided before a wall of money reaches you, under what vision and values you would like to reinvest it.”
CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has shown family businesses can achieve longevity by achieving a strong performance – and reaching out to their fans.
Buffett’s longevity is established on the back of returns of 20.3% a year since 1965, against 10% from the S&P 500. He achieved this by buying good businesses – many family-controlled – when the stock market wanted to sell. He supplied them with capital to reinforce their brands. He insisted his preferred holding period was forever – a classic evergreen family enterprise concept.
He outlined his thoughts in an entertaining preface to Berkshire’s annual report which soon developed a life of its own. Capital at Berkshire’s disposal has spiralled due to its access to a float of $130 billion from its insurance business. A few mega-deals were less successful and Buffett failed to make the most of the tech boom, despite his friendship with Bill Gates.
But a $100 billion bet on Apple, plus his folksy charm now offered through the archives of CNBC has preserved his unsurpassed reputation as a US corporate and investment icon, which has been partially built on a family business ethos of long termism. It should also be sufficient to guarantee his eldest son, Howard, the chairmanship of Berkshire when his father quits the scene – ensuring his legacy remains in good hands.
President and Managing Partner of Pritzker Private Capital
Carbone knows a thing or two about family dynasties. He’s also pretty good with his deal-making and investing. Combine these skills and Carbone is the consummate investor in the family enterprise world. The president and managing partner of Chicago-based Pritzker Private Capital, Carbone has worked with members of the Pritzker family, one of America’s greatest family business dynasties, for more than eight years.
Under his leadership at PPC, Carbone has built an impressive portfolio of mid-market companies in the manufacturing, services, and healthcare sectors. Along that path, he has always been very cognizant of the legacy for the businesses and their employees PPC works with.
And that legacy is based on the best principles of family businesses – patience capital and stewardship. As he told Family Capital recently: “The ability of a family business to focus on the long-term allows it to prioritize the most critical above the expedient. It is this same characteristic which makes family businesses most attractive to family capital providers.”
Board of Directors, Jacob Holding
So enthralled with the family business model and the importance of investing in them, Andreas Jacobs – who sits on the board of the Swiss-based Jacobs Holding, a big family investment/foundation group – has set up a number of funds to help family-owned Mitteland businesses in Germany. Jacobs is a well-known figure in the family enterprise world in Germany and Switzerland.
He is also the son of the deceased billionaire Klaus Johann Jacobs, who revitalized a family business he inherited that specialized in coffee and chocolate production. Two years ago, Andreas led a consortium of investors, some with family business backgrounds, to buy the Swiss business of Berenberg Bank, Germany’s oldest family-owned bank. Those nominating him said Jacobs’ background and contacts, combined with his investment skills make him well placed to help revitalize the hugely important German family business sector.
Managing Partner of Levensohn Venture Partners
Levensohn might just be creating a family business dynasty on his own – given in recent years he’s set up a very successful vineyard and wine business with his wife, Melaine. But his reputation as an investor in the family enterprise sector stems from his many years working with dynastic family offices in their efforts to build venture portfolios, and in particular, with the Dolby and Hixon families.
Levensohn brings expert knowledge to the many advantages, and pitfalls, of venture investing for family offices. And sometimes it’s not all about the money, as Levensohn told Family Capital earlier this year with reference to the work he did with Dolby and curing Alzheimer’s disease.
“While we could ultimately lose money on a specific company, or not achieve an acceptable commercially driven risk-adjusted rate of return, we could still achieve the family’s objective in advancing the science,” Levensohn said. “We would consider our efforts a success. And that is a realistic way of deploying capital in a challenging field that the family office is passionate about supporting in a meaningful way.”
Chief investment officer, AlTouq Group
Noor has been instrumental in building up one of Saudi Arabia’s most impressive family offices and along the way has become an ambassador for best practices in the world of family enterprises. Chief investment officer of the Riyadh-based AlTouq Group for more than 10 years, Noor has built a reputation as a shrewd investor for the family office, which is perhaps the best role model of many other family offices in the region.
He has plied his trade alongside an impressive education in the world of family enterprises, gaining an MBA in 2016 from the French business school EDHEC with a focus on family businesses, as well as various qualifications in family business advising from the Family Firm Institute.
Pierre & Pam Omidyar
Owners of Omidyar Network
The husband and wife team have created Omidyar Network, perhaps the most successful purpose-based investment group on the planet. Its reputation in the world of family capital led us to awarded Omidyar Network as Family Capital’s Investment Group of the Year in 2018. It’s obvious to see why they stand out with respect to their impact-led investments given the sheer breadth and depth of their investments across the world, but particularly in India.
Their efforts in this area now mean Omidyar Network is often looked at as the benchmark for impact investing among other family/principal offices. Those nominating the Omidyars say the two through their investment group have influenced hugely the investment philosophy of many family offices, and have been particularly impactful among the investment ambitions of the next gen.
President, RIT Capital Partners
One of the many scions of arguably the world’s greatest family business dynasty, Jacob Rothschild, 4thBaron Rothschild, took over RIT Capital Partners in 1971 when it was worth £5 million. Its net assets now total £3.1 billion on the back of annual returns of 12.2%. Rothschild built the business after turning his back on cousin Evelyn, and other family members, who were unwilling to support his growth plan for their bank.
Rothschild’s determination to strike out on his own is an example to today’s nextgen who are increasingly keen to set up new ventures, away from their families.
RIT’s performance has lagged the tech-heavy indices, but it only participated in 38% of market declines against 73% of its rises. Its 12.2% return since inception has trounced inflation, derived from its core portfolio and some punchy venture capital opportunities.
Aged 84, Jacob Rothschild, remains president of RIT. Daughter Hannah Rothschild joined the board in 2013 ensuring his continued legacy.
Chairman and CEO, BDT Capital Partners
Byron Trott has earned his reputation as an influencer by helping the most successful families in the world to achieve a commercial edge, without losing track of their ethos.
When he was at Goldman Sachs, Trott worked with the Koch family, the Pritzkers and WalMart’s Waltons. Warren Buffett once said Trott was the only banker he trusted. Trott now runs BDT Capital Partners, which raised $9.1 billion for a third fund in May.
One of its more active clients is JAB Holding Company, backed by the German Reimann family. In June, amid the pandemic, JAB floated global coffee shop chain JDE Peet’s, a big Starbuck competitor, partly down to Trott’s advice.
Trott believes in perseverance. He once said: “If there is a wall there, you are going to go through it.” He added that selling a family business was a “bad habit” because good ones are so very hard to find. Those nominating him said Trott is the go-to person for billionaires looking to get creative with their investment portfolios, especially in the family enterprise world.
Hamill has developed a top reputation as an executive search specialists in the family enterprise world after years placing many senior managers in asset management and private banking groups throughout Europe. She works closely with family enterprise groups in the recruitment process, and believes it’s just as much about understanding what the recruiter is about as it is about understanding the manager they are recruiting when it comes to hiring the best talent. An ex-Goldman Sachs manager, Hamill brings real professional heft to the recruitment world for family enterprises, according to those who nominated her for the 100 Family Influencers.
In the US, few executive search firms are more connected to the family office sector than Kreuzberger Associates – that’s largely due to the expertise and professionalism of its founder Neil Kreuzberger. The former CFO of a venture-based software group, Kreuzberger also appreciates the growing demand among family offices to bring in management with digital/venture backgrounds. Those who nominated Kreuzberger say he has US-wide contacts, enabling him to source top management for family offices across the world’s biggest family office economy.
Linda Mack is one of a handful of family office executive specialists who’ve gained a stellar reputation and who’ve retained that reputation for many years. Those who nominated her says Mack combines all the skills of a top executive search specialist, but also has the ability to apply those skills to the sometimes difficult challenge of matching talented individuals with the idiosyncratic world of single-family offices. Her search firm Mack International has often produced compensation surveys on family offices, further cementing her reputation, and Mack is a regular participant at many family office conferences. Overall, Mack has contributed enormously to best practices within the family office sector during her career, which is underlined by many who nominated her for the 100 Family Influencers.
The Somers Partnership
Mark Somers has increasingly focused on top family office recruitment and was nominated by many because of his growing reputation in the field. With more than 20 years of experience, Somers wider skills in executive search for asset and wealth management talent provides the foundation of his family office work. His commitment to the sector was reinforced with the publication earlier this year of his book: How to Work for a Billionaire – Career Advice for those Wanting a Job in the Family Office Sector, which provides an in-depth and thorough analysis of the family office sector aimed at those wanting to work for one.
Andreas von Specht
AvS – International Trusted Advisors
After a 17 year stint with Egon Zehnder, where he became one of the firm’s senior managers and shareholders, von Specht started his own practice AvS. Von Specht has gone on to establish himself as a top executive recruitment/consulting group, with a growing reputation as a specialist in the family enterprise world. From a family business himself – the von Specht family are one of the owners of the Hamburg-based Berenberg Bank – he has intimate knowledge of family owners and their requirements when it comes to senior management. It helps that von Specht is very well-connected with family dynasties throughout Europe. Those who nominated him say von Specht is often the first executive research specialist to be called upon when hiring top managers for the world’s biggest family businesses.
Corinna Traumueller Schulthess
Schulthess Zimmermann & Jauch
Traumueller Schulthess is one of Europe’s top executive search specialists in the family enterprise sector. Now working in London for the international headhunter group Schulthess Zimmermann & Jauch, she has moved more into strategic family business recruitment/advice but retains her in-depth knowledge of the family business world. She set up the Family Office Management Consulting group in 2009 after leading UBS’s family office advisory group. Those who nominated Traumueller Schulthess say she brings exceptional advisory skills to the recruitment of top talent at family enterprises across Europe.
Partner, Kirkland & Ellis
Private equity and private market specialist, Harris is among a handful of lawyers who really understand the direct-deal/family investment group ecosystem. From his base in Chicago, Harris heads up Kirkland & Ellis’s private investment and family office practice where he is often called upon to help structure complex deals for family offices. A big believer in the growing importance and the dynamics of family offices and direct deals, Harris gained accolades among those who nominated him for his work with family offices in the private equity sector.
Partner, Withers Bergman
Withers has a host of top lawyers who deal with family enterprises, many of them family offices. But Kambas came up as the top nomination from our survey. The US-based lawyer, whose expertise is centred on tax planning, has advised many family office clients in the US and abroad. Given the increased complexity of multi-jurisdictional families and family-owned assets, Kambas is one of the top legal experts offering advice in this area. Those who nominated him say the Withers lawyer is one of the few who truly understands the issues for family offices and their principals when it comes to tax planning and regulatory issues.
Partner, Troutman Sanders
Irwin Latner counsels many family offices on private equity transactions and is an expert in structuring complex investment strategies for many of them. A partner in the New York law firm Troutman Pepper, Latner helps many family offices in their relations with fund managers, hedge funds, and private equity groups to maximize best outcomes from these groups when it comes to their dealings with family offices.
Partner, Roots Advocaten
Jozef Lievens has spent most of his professional life honing his skills to better advise family enterprises. A partner in the Belgian law firm Roots Advocaten, Lievens was the co-founder of the FBN in Belgium and has had a long association with the Family Firm Institute, where he is a fellow. He also lectures on family enterprises at various business schools and has become one of Europe’s top advocates for the importance of family businesses, as those who nominated him have given testament to.
Partner, Flick Gocke Schaumburg
Soffing understands family investment groups, particularly in the context of Germany, better than most. A partner in Flick Gocke Schaumburg, which works with many of the country’s biggest family businesses and family investment groups, he advises many family offices and foundations on tax and investment structuring, regulatory issues, and governance. He gains accolades from many due to his skills working with family offices and businesses in Germany.
Valérie Tandeau de Marsac
Founder, VTM Conseil
Few lawyers know the family business world better than Paris-based Valérie Tandeau de Marsac. The family business lawyer works with many of France’s best-known family businesses and is a big advocate of the model, but also knows much about the challenges the sector faces. Tandeau de Marsac has also authored a number of books on family businesses as well as teaching on the subject at two top French business schools. Acknowledged by many as one of Europe’s most knowledgeable lawyers working with family enterprises.
Ambani brothers – Anil and Mukesh
Chairman of Reliance Group and chairman of Reliance Industries
The Ambani brothers – Anil and Mukesh – are Indian business icons, and also offer a very important insight on managing huge businesses through the lens of a family dynasty. The business empire their father built up was split soon after Dhirubhai Ambani’s death and the brothers then made their own way in the business world. Eldest brother Mukesh, who is now Asia’s richest man, according to Forbes, might have been the more successful, but neither has Anil faded away. Now in their sixties, the brothers continue to exert tremendous influence on the business landscape of India.
Chairman at Helvar Merca and Helectron
The Finn Philip Aminoff has been a big proponent of the importance of family businesses in the world economy for years. Coming from a family business dynasty himself, Aminoff previously chaired the Brussel’s European Family Businesses Group, which lobbies on behalf of family businesses throughout Europe. Aminoff remains committed to the cause and is chairman of the Finnish Family Firms Association as well as helping to oversee numerous holding groups, many of them family-owned.
Chairman and chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy
No one quite moves so smoothly in the top echelons of the business world as Bernard Arnault does. The chairman and CEO of the world’s biggest luxury-goods business is also the patriarch of a family business dynasty, which he manages with as much meticulous attention to detail as he does the huge number of businesses within the LVMH empire he oversees. Now a septuagenarian, Arnault has one eye on his successor – all five of his children work for the business, which should make the task easier. Whatever he has in mind for the business’s future leadership, Arnault’s commitment to the family business world – many of LVMH’s acquisitions have been family owned because he likes the business model – ensures his place as a top family business influencer.
Chairman of the supervisory board of Henkel
Simone Bagel-Trah, chairman of the supervisory board and chairman of the Shareholders’ Committee of Henkel, one of the biggest manufacturers of consumer and industrial chemicals in the world, is one of Germany’s top family business icons. A big proponent of the importance of innovation in the business world, Bagel-Trah, part of the fifth generation of the Henkel family that controls the eponymous business, is also a big believer in more access for those underrepresented in the corporate sector. She herself has been a pathfinder in greater gender diversity at the top of German businesses, being the first woman chairman of a listed business in the country. But crucially, she has progressed her efforts through the lens of a family business ideal that sits at the heart of the Henkel enterprise.
Chairwoman and CEO of Sonepar
Coisne-Roquette is one of France’s top business executives and also a big proponent of the family business model. The chairwoman and chief executive officer of the electrical distribution and engineering company Sonepar, Coisne-Roquette has been at the helm of the Paris-based company for more than 20 years, overseeing strong growth for much of that time and keeping the business true to its family business roots. She is the great, great-granddaughter of Henri Coisne, the co-founder of Sonepar.
Dr Tim Cooper
Managing director of Coopers Brewery
Dr Tim Cooper is perhaps the most qualified individual in the world of family businesses, having trained as a medical doctor, gaining a PhD in research in cardiopulmonary medicine and subsequently an MBA, the Adelaide-based Cooper is also managing director of Coopers, one of the poster companies of the Australian family business sector. Cooper is the fifth generation of his family to be involved in the brewery, which also makes one of Australia’s most recognised beer brands. He’s a big believer in the attributes of family businesses like patient capital and stakeholder values, and has often talked about the importance of family businesses in the world economy.
Founder of Dyson
Arguably the UK’s most famous current entrepreneur, James Dyson is also a big proponent of the family business model, having brought his two sons into the business. He said shortly after buying his son Jake’s lighting firm and bringing him into Dyson: “The beauty of a family business is that you worry about getting the product right, not about any investors with short-term views of what others think… We can be very long term… We can be patient.” Dyson also represents one of the few tech entrepreneurs who believes in the evergreen company idea based on family ownership and stewardship, as those who nominated him have testified.
Chairman and CEO of Exor
John Elkann might have inherited Italy’s most glamorous business empire when he became the fifth generation of the Agnelli family to own and manage the Fiat car-making group, but he has never let the extraordinary legacy of his predecessors get in his way to grow the business. Elkann has diversified the family business and built a holdings/investment group centred on Exor. Always a big believer in the family business model, as those who nominated him can testify, Elkann is one of Europe’s greatest icons in the sector.
CEO of Victorinox
Fourth-generation Carl Elsener is CEO of one of a company that makes one of the world’s most recognisable brands, the Swiss Army Knife. Elsener has built upon the traditions of the family business, which is very rooted in the community it has its headquarters in a small town in northern Switzerland, and applied considerable innovation to make the business fit for the 21st century. A great believer in stakeholder values ensuring that most of the manufacturing of Victorinox’s products remain local, despite the higher cost, Elsener is a worthy 100 Family Influencer.
Executive chairman of Ford
Bill Ford, a member of a family dynasty that probably changed the course of history more than any other through the mass production of the automobile, is a family business icon. Now on a mission to bring new forms of mobility to urban areas, as well as overseeing the huge eponymous car-maker, which is one of the top 10 family businesses in the world, according to Family Capital, Bill is a busy man, but he’s a big believer in the positive role family businesses play in society and has expressed that belief many times.
Chairman of the big Indian conglomerate the Godrej Group, Adi Godrej is a big personality in the world of Indian family business, having overseen the growth of his family’s company, which makes many of India’s best-known consumer products, for more than 40 years. He modernised the business founded by his namesake in the late 19th century and has always been a big believer in the importance of stewardship for the underlining success of a multi-generational business.
Probably the Netherlands’ most recognizable family business dynasty, which can trace its ownership of the eponymous brewery back to the mid-19th century, the Heinekens are great believers in the importance of the best practices of family businesses. Ownership of the family’s stake in the Amsterdam brewery is overseen these days by fourth-generation Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and her husband, Michel de Carvalho. Other family members sit on the supervisory board of the business, and they and other members of the family very much want to keep it family-owned and independent.
Swiss-based André Hoffmann might be removed from the running of the business his great-grandfather founded more than 150 years ago, but he remains a leading proponent of the family business concept. Perhaps his greatest achievement from a family business perspective is as a role model for how a family can still remain connected to a business set up by a member of the family many years ago, but also no longer be involved in managing that business. As he said a few years ago: “We have always proceeded on the assumption that what is good for the company is good for the family. Not the other way around.”
CEO of Inditex
Pablo Isla, the CEO of Inditex – the sprawling clothing empire owned by Amancio Ortega and his family most famous for its Zara brand – might be the ultimate right-hand person for a family business dynasty. Voted a few years ago by the Harvard Business Review as one of the world’s top CEOs, Isa has helped hugely in building Inditex, the owner of Zara, into the global powerhouse it is today. He and Ortega work like clockwork together, making him the ultimate non-family business executive of a family enterprise.
Turkey’s best-known family business dynasty, the Koç family have run their huge conglomerate on the best principals of long-term decision making and stakeholder values. Now run by the third generation, Omer Koç, who is now the chairman of Koç Holdings after the death of his brother, he oversees Turkey’s biggest company in terms of revenue.
Chairman of Samsung Group
Lee Kun-hee might be a controversial business icon, but the South Korean chairman of his family business, Samsung Group, has been hugely successful at building a global business powerhouse. Inheriting the ownership and control of Samsung from his father, Lee went on to build it into the business most of the world knows these days. In South Korea, he is the most recognisable face of the hugely powerful and influential so-called chaebols – the family-owned conglomerates which have dominated the business scene in the country.
Senior advisor for CK Hutchison Holdings
Li Ka-shing would no doubt make the list of any top 100 business leaders given his success and influence in the corporate world. Rising from a poor background to be one of the world’s most successful business leaders, Li has also created a family business dynasty, with his sons Victor and Richard as a key part of the huge empire the family oversees. Now in his nineties, Li is still a colossus in the business world even though he retired two years ago from the chairman role at CK Hutchison Holdings.
Roberto Irineu Marinho
Chairman of Grupo Globo
The Brazilian Roberto Irineu Marinho oversees the vast media business, Grupo Globo. He and his brothers inherited a conglomerate started by his grandfather and accelerated hugely by his father, Roberto Marinho. Now Latin America’s biggest media group in terms of revenues, Grupo Globo success was driven by Roberto Irineu Marinho, who is also a big believer in the family business aspect of the company. He said recently: “I want to make it very clear that the Marinho family will not step back at all from Grupo Globo. We are and continue to want to be a family business…”
Former chairman of the Benetton Group
Gianni Mion is the ultimate non-family manager and confidante in the Italian family business world. Mion has helped manage the Benetton family enterprises and investments for years. He now sits on the board of the EssilorLuxottica business, which is controlled by the Del Vecchio family, one of Italy’s wealthiest. Mion’s huge experience in the Italian family business world, coupled with his highly regarded managerial experience means he’s often the go-to person to sort out challenges in the family management of a business, as those who nominated him can testify.
Executive chairman of News Corp
Rupert Murdoch is one of the most recognisable business leaders in the world, having built up a small newspaper business he inherited from his father in Australia to an international media business. He might not see himself as a family business icon, but the various intrigues involving members of his family, namely the three children – Elisabeth, James, and Lachlan – from his second marriage, shows the family business side of the media empire is very much in play.
The Pritzkers are one of America’s greatest business dynasties, albeit these days in a fragmented fashion. Although members of the family still own a part of the Hyatt hotel chain, perhaps the business most associated with the family fortune, members of the family have since gone their separate ways. Many of them now oversee their own investment groups, like Pritzker Private Capital, Tao Capital, PSP Capital Partners, Squadron Capital, and Blue Haven Initiative, to name a few. That makes the family one of the most influential in the world of investing.
Controversial due to some members of the family’s links to the Nazis during the Second World War, the Quandts nevertheless are arguably Germany’s most famous industrial family dynasty. The various branches of the family are still hugely influential in German business life – they are still the biggest shareholders of carmaker BMW and own a sizable share of Mercedes Benz. Susanne Klatten, one of the six children of Herbert Quandt, is Germany’s wealthiest women and has also become a leader in innovative investing through her investment office, SKion.
Juan Roig, president of one of Spain’s biggest supermarket chains, took a business founded by his father and grew it substantially. Roig introduced a management technique heavily influenced by family business values – called the total quality approach, it put in place relationship priorities, where customers are boss, with employees second in line, followed by suppliers and then management. The third generation, represented by his four daughters, have also been well ingrained in the business, which will help to ensure Mercadona will remain a respected family business for many more years.
Queen Elizabeth II – The UK royal family
Although monarchs might not fit the family enterprise concept in its conventional way, the UK royal family and particularly the reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II is a good exception, or at least as far as the many people who nominated them for the 100 Family Influencers would say. Often referred to as “the firm”, the British monarchy is at the very least an example of how family dynasties can last for centuries through adapting to changing circumstances. OK, they may have ruled for many of those years through the belief in divine intervention, but the royal family offer an interesting example of how dynasties adapt and deal with multiple challenges and come out on top. And the greatest example of this within the royal family is arguably the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
Owner of the Edmond de Rothschild Group
The Rothschild name is so synonymous with the family business concept – and that might be why our voters saw fit to nominate two for our list of influencers: Jacob Rothschild, in the Investors category, and Benjamin Rothschild. Benjamin makes this list because of his ability to revive and build a new business around the family brand – namely, the Geneva-based bank, Edmond de Rothschild Group. He’s done that – with the important aid of his wife, Ariane de Rothschild – through entrepreneurial savviness built on an extraordinary family business brand.
Chief executive of Suntory
One of Japan’s most recognisable business leaders, Nobutada Saji is also an icon of the hugely influential family business sector in his native country. Chief executive of the brewery company Suntory, which was founded by his grandfather, Saji has played a crucial role in growing Suntory’s business and internationalizing the brand, helped by his strong belief in the best practices of family enterprises – patience capital and stakeholder capitalism.
Chairman and CEO of Orascom Telecom
Egypt’s and one of the Middle East’s most famous businessmen, Naguib Sawiris inherited along with his two brothers the Orascom Group from their still alive father Onsi Sawiris. Naguib has done much to further the family business dynasty as chairman and CEO of Orascom Telecom. The Sawiris family has been astute by allowing the different divisions of the vast Orascom conglomerate to be headed by Onsi’s sons, which has alleviated conflict and improved governance. And Naguib is a big believer in the importance of the family business ideal, particularly in relation to enterprises throughout the Middle East.
Chairperson of the Strauss Group
One of Israel’s best-known family business leaders, Ofra Strauss has done much at developing the eponymous food company she oversees to become one of the most successful businesses in her home base and beyond. The granddaughter of the founder of the Strauss Group, which is Israel’s second-biggest food producer in terms of revenue, Ofra is a big proponent of the importance of family businesses to the world economy and believes the model has helped the Strauss Group become the great business it is today.
Former chairman of Tata Sons
Ratan Tata strides the Indian business scene like some colossus and with much justification because under his leadership Ratan has made the family business Tata Group arguably India’s most successful corporation. The great-grandson of the founder of Tata, the octogenarian is less involved in the running of the family business these days, but he was instrumental at creating Tata’s international reputation and more. Now involved in his investment group, RNT Associates, Ratan still exerts huge influence in the wider family enterprise world and is a worthy member of the 100 Family Influencers list.
Scandinavia’s best-known family dynasty, the Wallenbergs have fundamentally influenced the business culture of Sweden and beyond for more than 150 years. They own, or have minority stakes in many of Sweden’s leading business and financial brands, including Electrolux, Ericsson, and SAAB. Through their investment group, Investor AB, the Wallenbergs have also been the archetypical family business dynasty that has moved away from the operational business where the money was originally made and built the family fortune in subsequent years through investing.
The Waltons own the biggest family business of them all, Wal-Mart. And they have created that business within three generations. Of course, much of those efforts were due to Wal-Mart’s founder, Sam Walton – one of America’s greatest entrepreneurs. Sam’s son, Rob, is the main heir of the Wal-Mart business. Some third generation members of the family are now actively involved in impact investing, with Ben Walton’s Zoma Capital leading the way.
Chairman emeritus of George Weston
British-Canadian businessman Galen Weston has been a hugely successful entrepreneur and scion of a family business at the same time, making him one of the world’s greatest businessmen. Weston built a grocery store business in Ireland through his own efforts before coming back to Canada to turn the family-owned Loblaw supermarket chain around, transforming it into the biggest supermarket chain in Canada in the 1980s. Now in his late 70s, Galen has since taken more of a backseat in the family business empire, but remains a hugely significant figure in the family business landscape on both sides of the Atlantic.
Evans family – D. L. Evans Bank
Mom-and-pop banks have for the most part disappeared in the US, but one that still fits the bill in all the best possible meanings of the phrase is D.L. Evans Bank. Based in Burley, Idaho, D.L. Evans Bank is now run by the fourth and fifth generations of the Evans family, with John V. Evans the bank’s current CEO, and seven members of the family sitting on the board. The family and the bank have made a virtue of its family business and community values – and the size of the bank today is anything but mom-and-pop. D.L. Evans Bank now has assets of $2 billion-plus with branches in neighbouring Utah and across Idaho.
Gregory J. Fleming – Rockefeller Capital Management
Fleming isn’t a Rockefeller, but his role in reinvigorating the Rockefeller’s name in financial services should be recognised as a family influencer, as many those who nominated him agree. The Wall Street banker took the role of CEO at the newly formed Rockefeller Capital Management in 2017 and has done, by all accounts, a great job at building a wealth and asset management group on the back of the kudos around the Rockefeller name. Fleming has been hugely supported in that role by David Rockefeller, Jr., the chairman of Rockefeller & Company, which became RCM in 2018.
Hoare family – C. Hoare & Co
C.Hoare & Co is the last of the venerable banks in the UK still owned by the original family who set it up in 1672, the Hoares. The board of the bank is mainly made up of members from the 11th and 12th generation of the family. Unlike pretty much the entire British banking establishment, C. Hoare & Co has made a virtual out of its family values of long term decision making, patience capital, and conservative banking practices. Those valued led to record growth in business during and after the financial crisis in 2008, when most other banks were struggling. It continues to be run on its family values that have proven so successful over so many years. It’s longevity and its trustworthy reputation are why many nominated the Hoare family to be one of the 100 Family Influencers.
Li Family – Bank of East Asia
Less well-known outside of its base in Hong Kong, the Bank of East Asia is one of only two banks in the whole of China still family-owned. Overseen by the third-generation of the family owners, David Li, and his two sons, Adrian and Brian, the bank is still very much a family affair. David might have hit a rough patch in the last decade over allegations of insider trading, but the Li family continue to oversee a bank based on family values and stewardship, even as those values will be strained as Beijing’s influence in Hong Kong grows.
Pictet family – Pictet & Cie
The Pictet banking group runs like a very smooth liner across the choppy seas of endless financial disruption, scandals, and fallouts. And the Geneva-based bank has been doing this for more than 200 years thanks a lot to the management of the Pictet family. Still involved in the bank today with Marc Pictet a member of the partner structure that has worked so well for the bank since its beginning. The bank’s senior partner, effectively its CEO, doesn’t have to be a family member, but the senior partner will be kept in check by the other partners ensuring that excessive CEO power and influence never gets out of control at the bank. And that culture, born out of the family owners, is a big part of Pictet’s continuing success.
Is there any greater banking dynasty than the Rothschilds? Is there any banking dynasty which continues to reinvent itself so successfully over so many years, indeed, centuries? The Rothschild financial dynasty must be one of the greatest family influencers in the world ever – that’s why members of the family appear in two other sections of the 100 Influencers list – Jacob Rothschild as an Investor and Benjamin de Rothschild as a Business Leader – as well as in this section represented this time as an entire family. Heralding from Mayer Amschel Rothschild in the 18th century, the ancestor of the entire Rothschild banking clan, who would bet against the family still playing a pivotal role in finance in 200 years time?
Arguably the greatest of the Sephardi Jewish banking dynasties, the Safra family continue to have considerable influence in the world of finance. Effectively, the dynasty now lies with Joseph Safra, the only remaining son of Jacob Safra – he had four. Joseph controlled the family conglomerate, the Safra Group, which many of the next gen of the extended family also work for. The financial part of the business is split into three parts, a big commercial bank in Brazil, and two private banks in New York and Switzerland. Finance runs in the family’s genes – Edmund, one of Joseph’s brothers, set up and ran the very successful Republic Bank of New York before selling it to HSBC shortly before his death in December 1999.
Sangle and Wiesmüller families – Bankhaus Spangler
Austria’s oldest bank, Bankaus Spangle, which dates back to the early nineteen century and is based in Salzburg, Austria, is controlled by two dynasties – the Spangler and Wiesmüller families – who are now in their seventh generation of control. The bank prides itself on its family connections and works with many of Austria’s family businesses. It was also an early backer of Dietrich Mateschitz, the Austrian businessmen who co-founded Red Bull.
Stephens family – Stephens Inc
Stephens is unique because it is one of America’s most successful investment banks, but not based in Wall Street. Instead, Stephens home is Little Rock, Arkansas, and it has remained there largely because of the Stephens family who own the bank 100% and come from the state. At one level, Stephens is as ruthless as any Wall Street bank, but at another level, it remains true to its family and stakeholder values. CEO and chairman Warren Stephens, representing the third generation of the family who started the bank, has overseen huge growth in the bank’s fortunes. The bank has always liked family-run businesses – it backed Wal-Mart at a very early stage – and has done well on that ethos, as family businesses like banking with, surprise, surprise, a family-controlled one.
Co-founder, African Family Firms
Nike Anani is fast becoming one of the top family business consultants in Africa, particularly related to engagement with the next gen. The co-founder of the African Family Firms, a pathfinder in promoting events and education on the importance of family businesses in Africa. Anani, who is based in Nigeria, where she also runs Nike Anani Practice, is also doing a lot to work with next-gen members of family businesses, helping them to better engage with their families and their family businesses. Those who nominated Anani say she has been pivotal in helping to underline the growing importance of family businesses in Africa and helping to create an ecosystem around the sector.
Managing director, Family Business United
Paul Andrews founded the UK-based Family Business United in 2011, which has since gone on to become the most prominent voice for family businesses in its home market through its numerous events and publishing efforts. The former Coutts bank family business advisor has enthusiastically promoted the family business sector in the UK economy through events and publishing. Those who nominated him say Andrews has tirelessly worked with family businesses to get their message out to the wider public and to better reveal their strengths as family-owned enterprises in the British economy.
Co-founder and principal, The Family Business Consulting Group
Highly respected in the world of family business consulting and academia, Craig Aronoff is also one of the most connected advisors in the sector. The founder of the renowned Cox Family Enterprise Center at Kennesaw State University, Aronoff has also been one of the most published experts on the sector, authoring and co-authoring more than 30 books on family business advice and more. The co-founder of the Family Business Consulting Group, where he and his team of consultants have worked with many of America’s top family businesses, as well as internationally, Aronoff received numerous endorsements and accolades from those nominating him.
Alexis du Roy de Blicquy
CEO, Family Business Network International
Since taking over the role of CEO of the Family Business Network in 2013, Alexis du Roy de Blicquy has gone on to develop the group’s work in more countries than ever and promoted with zeal the importance of family businesses in the world’s economy. With first-hand experience working for family businesses and international organisations, de Blicquy has proven to be perfectly placed to lead the FBN’s efforts in developing its membership and its sought-after events, including its prestigious annual conference. Those who nominated de Blicquy say he has the mind and experience of a top administrator and a sharp entrepreneurial sense when it comes to forging the success of the FBN.
Founder, FAB – Families And Business
Sonu Bhasin describes herself as a family business historian, and her book The Inheritors – Stories of Entrepreneurship and Success details the successes and difficulties of many prominent entrepreneurial family businesses in India is testament to her meticulous attention to historical detail when it comes to the sector. Bhasin’s book underlined her depth of scholarly knowledge on the family enterprise world, particularly in regard to India, but she has also gained plenty of first-hand practical experience with family enterprises, having sat on the boards of many of them and advised many others. Those nominating her say she is one of the wisest heads when it comes to family business advice in India.
Partner and leader, family enterprise consulting, Deloitte
Walid Chiniara has established himself as a top family enterprise advisor across the Middle East. A pioneer in the evolution of better governance within family businesses in the Gulf region and beyond, Chiniara is highly regarded among the Middle East family enterprise community. A corporate lawyer and an accredited mediator in intergenerational conflicts, Chiniara has worked with many of the region’s top family enterprises and is often the go-to person when it comes to the family enterprises issues in the Gulf region – a fact acknowledged by those who nominated him.
Global family business leader, PwC
Peter Englisch, the global family business leader for PwC, has gained a big reputation as a strategic constant in the world of family enterprises during his years at EY and more recently with PwC. The initiator of many family business events and publications, Englisch is a well-known figure among family business leaders across the world. At EY, he set up the group’s global family business center of excellence, initiated a family business section to EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year awards and events, and launched an annual yearbook celebrating the best family businesses in the world. A big believer in the importance of values at family businesses to ensure their lasting legacy, Englisch has played a major role in facilitating the professionalization of the family business ecosystem. And those who nominated him say Englisch has achieved gravitas at the top table of family businesses around the world.
Founder, Club b
Chair and founder of Club b, arguably the most influential family office conference group in the world, Peter Fletcher has built an enviable reputation among family offices internationally. That’s partly through his own personal experience of selling a business and forging a new path with an investment group – so learning from first-hand experience – but also through setting up Club b, first informally in 1995 and gradually more professionally as the group’s following mushroomed among single-family offices in the next two and a half decades. Those who nominated him say he is one of the best-connected individuals in the family office world and his events are highly regarded in the community, perhaps the best in the business, say many.
President, The Family Firm Institute
If there is one person more than any other who has promoted the importance of the advisor/consultant for the global family enterprise sector then it must be Judy Green, the president of the Boston-based Family Firm Institute. Green has been the president of the influential FFI for 28 years and during that time has created and underpinned the foundations for the huge success of the organisation through its educational and events efforts across the world. An FFI certificate has become the kitemark for the family enterprise advisory community and that’s largely due to Green’s efforts. Those who nominated her say Green is a true pro and has been the driving force behind FFI’s success, which has had a halo effect on the professionalization of the family business world.
President and founder, Griffiths Hamilton Family Office Advisors
Few family enterprise advisors come with more first-hand experience of the family enterprise world than Emily Griffiths-Hamilton. The author of Build Your Family Bank and Your Business, Your Family, Their Future, comes from an entrepreneurial family with both her grandfather and father builders of very successful businesses, Griffiths-Hamilton has also owned and managed two Canadian national sports teams. That gives her, along with her training as an accountant, family enterprise advisor, and conflict resolution coach, plenty of expertise in the advisory world for family enterprises. And those who nominated Griffiths-Hamilton mentioned her broad expertise and background as a reason to be among the top family enterprise influencers.
Partner, Head of Family Office Services, BDO
Catherine Grum, who has just joined BDO as head of family office services, spent five years in a similar role at KPMG, dealing with the often complicated issues affecting investment offices across the UK and beyond. At KPMG, Grum grew the family office business and her knowledge of the wider world of family enterprises, particularly in relation to the nexus between operational businesses and setting up a family office has gained her accolades among those who nominated her for her work with the sector.
Founder and CEO, Family Office Exchange
The founder of the Chicago-based Family Office Exchange, Sara Hamilton is a pioneer in the advisory world for family offices, building a community throughout the US and beyond since she set up FOX more than 30 years ago. Without doubt, Hamilton and FOX have done much to help professionalize the family office world and continue to do so. She has also written extensively about the sector and helps with executive education with a focus on family wealth at the University of Chicago’s business school. Those who nominate Hamilton say she has been a pathfinder in the family office advisory world and has been imitated by many since, but few have achieved her success and respect.
Founder and chairman, Peter Leach Associates
Peter Leach has a world-wide reputation as a top family business consultant, having set up the highly respected constancy Peter Leach & Partners before selling it to Deloitte in 2014. Now plying his trade again as an independent advisor to family enterprises, Leach continues to influence the sector not lease through his many years of experience and connections he has built up in the community. Outside of his base in the UK, Leach has also gained a reputation in the Indian business community, arguably the most important centre for family businesses in the world. Those who nominated Leach say he combines years of experience with real practical and strategic knowledge of the sector.
Founder and chairman, Lorange Network
Peter Lorange is currently leading the Zurich-based Lorange Network, which works with many family owners and entrepreneurs in a host of strategic and business areas. The former president of the business school IMD in Switzerland, Lorange comes from a family business himself – a Norweigian shipping dynasty, which the family sold in 2006. Lorange academic credentials in the world of business are greatly admired and he has combined these with considerable practical experience in running companies, both from a strategic perspective and an entrepreneurial one. He has a broad range of contacts in the sector and the wider business community, giving him insights much appreciated by the family enterprise sector.
Family office advisory services, managing director, EY
Paul McKibbin is an acknowledged expert on family office strategic advice, having been connected to the sector for more than 20 years. Now an executive director at EY in the US, McKibbin set up Family Office Metrics in 2007, a highly respected provider of technology and strategic consulting to family offices. He sold the business to EY in 2015 and has continued along the same well-respected path since. McKibbin also co-founded Shaking the Tree, a not-for-profit group that uses professional theatre to engage individuals and families of wealth to discuss issues such as family dynamics, the psychology of money, trust, decision-making, and responsibility.
Founder, PETER MAY Family Business Consulting
Peter May is arguably Germany’s number one family business consultant. The founder of PETER MAY Family Business Consulting, May has been consulting in the sector for more than 20 years, having sold his initial consulting group INTES to PwC in 2013 after setting the group up 15 years earlier. May works with many of Germany’s top family businesses and has initiated various family business-centric ideas and groups, including one of the first governance codes for family businesses and was a key figure in the setting up of the Institute for Family Business at WHU, Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany, one of the best centres for family enterprise studies in Europe and headed now by another Family Enterprise Influencer, Nadine Kammerlander. He is also managing director of the FBN’s operations in Germany, one of the most important chapters of the global FBN community.
Director, Family Business Engagement, IMD
Lise Møller has established herself as one of Europe’s best-known family business engagement specialists in her many years connected to the sector. Møller, who is currently director of family business engagement at the Swiss business school, IMD, is a respected family business specialist, having also worked in a similar role at INSEAD before rejoining IMD at the start of 2020. During her career as a family business specialist, Møller also helped to underpin the success of the Lausanne-based FBN International where she worked before joining IMD in 2007. Those who nominated her say Møller has quietly worked behind the scenes to build an excellent reputation in the industry for her efforts over the many years she has been connected to the sector.
Founder and CEO, Family Office Association
Through the Family Office Association, which he founded ten years ago, Angelo Robles has established a reputation as a top family office advisor and events organizer. He has also become a thought leader in the sector, having founded a think tank called the Effective Family Office and published books in a similar vein on the sector. Those who nominated Robles say he has built a following among many family offices in the US and comment on his excellent events.
Founder and CEO, Tamarind Partners
A family office specialist, Rosplock is well-known and respected in the family enterprise sector when it comes to quality advice. She is also the author of the much-respected The Complete Family Office Handbook, which is being re-released in a second edition in November. From her base in Florida and through her company, Tamarind Partners, Rosplock has worked with many of North America’s top family offices both with the principals and their staff to help bring about best practices. Rosplock has also worked with many advisers to help them better understand family offices and what are their often complex requirements. All these attributes were acknowledged by those who nominated Rosplock.
Co-founder and CEO, Trusted Family
Edouard Thijssen is a next-generation member of a family business giving him first-hand insights into the demands and pressures of a family enterprise. As such, few individuals were better placed to set up an intranet technology platform for family members of a business and/or investment office when he co-founded Trusted Family in 2007. Trusted Family has gone on to establish itself as the leading governance platform for the family enterprise community, with a wide following among owners and next geners. Those who nominated Thijssen say he has pursued his entrepreneur efforts at Trusted Family with huge energy and commitment, which is admired and respected in the family enterprise and advisor community.
Managing partner, WE Family Offices
Michael Zeuner co-founded the consulting group WE Family Offices, which through his efforts and the other two managing partners has gained a reputation as a top strategic and investment consulting firm working with single-family offices. Before setting up WE Family Office, Zeuner worked as a management consultant and finance expert for many of the top banks and multi-family office groups in the US. Those who nominated him say Zeuner has been instrumental in professionalizing the family office sector in the US and is able to draw on years of experience connected to the sector.