About us

Family businesses are highly complex. They must continuously align the interests of the family with the ownership and objectives of the business. They typically have a very long-term, values-based approach; each generation wanting to ensure the success of the business for the next.

Complicated and sensitive family, business, ownership and financial issues can often present a tough challenge for family businesses. Family conflicts can flare up over a lack of clarity on the evolving roles of family members or diverging business visions. These issues present risks to both the family and the business.

The IMD Global Family Business Center is committed to focusing on the characteristics and challenges unique to family businesses.


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 a new program: Leading the Family Office (LFO) in 2013.

Today, this Center of excellence is directed by Denise Kenyon-Rouvinez. Many prestigious Family Business Faculty have also led the Center over the years, including Emeritus IMD Professor Joachim Schwass most recently. All have delivered premium programs and published cutting-edge research and insights in family business, contributing significantly to both the reach and reputation the Center continues to enjoy today.

The story goes on…

Core team

Denise H. Kenyon-Rouvinez

Swiss, American

Professor of Family Business, Family Office and Governance
Director IMD Global Family Business Center
The Wild Group Professor of Family Business

Matthew Crudgington

British, Swiss

Associate Director

Jung Park


Research Fellow

Barbara Vicentini


Project Officer

Faculty Team

Arturo Bris


Director of IMD World Competitiveness Center

Ben Bryant

Australian, British

Leadership and Organization

Benoit F. Leleux

Belgian, Swiss, Professor


Programs: Program for Executive Development, Foundations for Business Leadership - Leading the Family Business, Strategic Finance, Leading the Family Office, Master of Business Administration


Didier Cossin

Swiss, French

Finance and Governance
UBS Chair in Banking and Finance
Director of IMD Global Board Center

Jennifer Jordan


Leadership and Organizational Behavior

Paul Strebel

South African, Swiss

Emeritus Professor of Governance and Strategy