|"You've got a great school here and I am very impressed by the quality of your programs and faculty. Still, let me suggest that you have a very big hole in your program offerings: you have nothing for family business people!"|
President and CEO, Tilley of Canada
This was how it all started. Frank Tilley was an executive-in-residence at IMI (International Management Institute) from September 1987 to June 1988. He was clearly aware of the obvious lack of and need for specific education programs for family businesses and with great enthusiasm and institutional backing, he went to see Dr. Stephan Schmidheiny, a well-known Swiss entrepreneur and Chairman of IMI's Board, who agreed to underwrite a pilot study.
After a long search for specialists to take on this task, Tilley decided to join the Family Firm Institute (FFI) Annual Conference to meet the top academics in the field. Three specialists were identified who went on to become the core team for the launch of the Leading the Family Business (LFB) program: Professor John Ward, Dr. John Davis who was the founder of the Owner-managed Business Institute in California and Professor Ivan Lansberg of Yale University's School of Organization and Management.
LFB was launched in December 1988 and among the participants were family members from Bata, Martini Rossi, Bekaert, Pictet, Firmenich and Dr. Schmidheiny himself. The inaugural program was so highly rated that the decision was made to continue the program. The further positive fallout from this success was that Dr. Schmidheiny decided he would fund the first endowed Chair in the history of the school. Thus, in 1990, soon after the merger between IMI and IMEDE that established IMD, it was announced that the Schmidheiny Chair in Family Enterprises had been created and Professor Alden G. Lank (a former IMD faculty chairman) would hold the Chair.
Following in the tradition established by Frank Tilley, the next two executives-in-residence at IMD - Dr. Jerry Stempler and George Raymond, both of whom were American family business owners - acted as LFB Directors Over the years IMD Professors Jim Dowd, Paul Strebel and Ben Bryant have also been actively involved in LFB. In 1990 Alden G. Lank took over as Program Director, a position that he held until 1998.
|As told by Prof. Alden G. Lank|
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