Panel – Family Business: leveraging the tradition of innovation and sustainability
Family businesses capitalize on endemic advantages
Building a family business that can last for the long term takes more than dedication and hard work: innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit are also must-haves. So, too, is planning for the next generation.
In tackling these challenges, family businesses benefit from the agility and adaptability of a more compact decision-making process, panelists said. And their ability to focus on the future, rather than the latest quarterly results, can also lead to a competitive advantage.
Another strength of family businesses is their dedication to their employees, who many times are considered part of the clan. Family businesses often feel a responsibility to take care of their employees and are less likely to resort to layoffs during downturns.
The result is a loyal, more stable workforce — another competitive advantage.
Each generation gets an opportunity to redefine the family business, helping to keep it dynamic and innovative.
But planning for the next generation of family leaders can be a major challenge. One leading practice is the creation of a charter with rules and preconditions for succession.
Another is to encourage peer-to-peer learning, giving the next generation an opportunity to gain perspective as they prepare for their leadership role.
Global Family Business Leader
Peter is the Global and EMEIA Family Business Leader, and serves as Lead Partner for Strategic Growth Markets (SGM). Peter was the Partner in charge of the Ruhr region offices of Ernst & Young GmbH. He was appointed as Global Leader for Family Business in 2011.
In addition to his extensive experience as a client-serving partner in the area of assurance and advisory business services for both, international and national companies, Peter supports SMEs and family-owned businesses in matters of succession and growth strategies. To formalize his vision and create a consistent platform, he launched the Ernst & Young Junior Academy, a successful global program for young successors in family business who are being trained for company leadership.
Peter earned his Master’s degree from the University of Münster, qualification Diplom-Kaufmann. He is an accountant, tax advisor and US-certified CPA (Certified Public Accountant).
Ross Perot, Jr.
The Perot Companies and Hillwood
Ross serves as Chairman of The Perot Companies, which manages the various Perot family businesses that include real estate, oil and gas, and financial investments. He also serves as Chairman of Hillwood, which is ranked as one of the top industrial, commercial and residential real estate developers in the US.
After serving in the United States Air Force, Ross became Chairman of the Air Force Memorial Foundation and was instrumental in building the United States Air Force Memorial, which honors the men and women of the United States Air Force.
He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the East-West Institute, and he also serves on the Board of Vanderbilt University (his alma mater), the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum and St. Mark’s School of Texas. He has been awarded the Gold Medal Award for Extraordinary Service, the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.
Dr. Florian Langenscheidt
Founder and Chairman of the Board
CHILDREN FOR A BETTER WORLD
Dr. Langenscheidt is the founder and Chairman of the Board of CHILDREN FOR A BETTER WORLD, a nonprofit children’s aid organization that helps children without a home and without hope around the world and works with local organizations and carriers.
In addition to his role with CHILDREN FOR A BETTER WORLD, Dr. Langenscheidt holds seats on several boards of directors and supports young companies by providing advice and capital. He is active as a trustee of the Deutsche Kinder- und Jugendstiftung (German Children’s and Youth Foundation) and founder of the BRAND CLUB, as well as spokesperson for the board of trustees of the Deutscher Gründerpreis. Dr. Langenscheidt has written several books and is editor of the Deutsches Markenlexikon (German Brand Encyclopedia) and the Lexikon der deutschen Familienunternehmen (Encyclopedia of German Family Businesses).
After studying German, Journalism and Philosophy in Munich, Dr. Langenscheidt earned a doctorate with a thesis on advertising and obtained an MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France.