We are forever indebted to Frank Tilley, former executive-in-residence, who identified family business as a field IMD ought to be active in, and to Professor Alden Lank, first faculty member to lead the initiative.
Professors John Davis, Ivan Lansberg and John Ward were instrumental in launching the first Leading the Family Business (LFB) program in 1988. Dr. Stephan Schmidheiny underwrote the pilot study.
The IMD Global Family Business Award was launched in1996, with Lego the first of the many prestigious winners over the years. Thanks to the sponsorship of Lombard Odier the Award has continued to grow in notoriety over the last 20 years.
LFB was (and continues to be) an enormous success, generating much interest from around the world. The subsequent demand for custom programs (tailor-made for your family business needs) has increased steadily and in 2004, after welcoming more than 400 families from over 40 countries, we celebrated the 1,000th Family Business participant milestone.
In 2008, the 20th anniversary of Family Business Research & Education at IMD was marked with the presence of Warren Buffett who engaged openly with faculty and families alike. In 2009 the Biennial Family Business Forum was introduced as well as the first program specifically for Chinese family businesses.
The IMD Global Family Business Center in its current form was officially inaugurated in 2011. Growing demand saw the welcome introduction of new programs: Leading the Family Office (LFO) in 2013 followed by The Next Generation (TNG) in 2014.
Many prestigious Family Business Faculty have led this center of excellence over the years: Professors Alden Lank, John Ward, Joachim Schwass, and currently Denise Kenyon-Rouvinez. At times they have been joined by other notorious faculty members including Professors Annelie Karlsson and Peter May. All have delivered premium programs and published cutting-edge research and insights in family business over the years, contributing significantly to both the reach and reputation the Center continues to enjoy today.
The story goes on…