Joachim Schwass

Professor Emeritus of Family Business and Entrepreneurship and founder of the IMD Global Family Business Center

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Joachim Schwass is Professor Emeritus of Family Business and Entrepreneurship and founder of the IMD Global Family Business Center. He teaches family business and entrepreneurship with a focus on generational and owner-related issues. He has lectured and conducted family business programs around the globe and has advised many leading global family businesses.

Prior to joining IMD, he was managing director of several companies which were part of his own family’s business. He has led the startup of several international businesses as well as managing a number of industrial manufacturing businesses in Australia and the US. He has also managed in international trading business in Switzerland.

Educated in Germany, France, and Switzerland, Schwass attended graduate studies at Technische Universität Berlin and Université de Fribourg where he obtained a Lic rer pol and a Dr rer pol.

His 2005 book, Wise Growth Strategies in Leading Family Businesses, has been translated into German, Spanish, Mandarin, and Japanese. He is the lead author of the 2010 book Wise Wealth, which was published in Mandarin three years later, and of the 2016 book Wise Family Business, Family Identity Steering Brand Success.

Schwass directed the Annual Distinguished Family Business Award for 10 years. He also spent 10 years as Executive Director of the Family Business Network (FBN) and served on their board until 2010.

Academic publications
Article
Storm in a champagne glass
In this article the author reports on the rising fears of family dynasties as Europe enters a new era.
Published 1 February 1999
Article
The Hermès style of governance
The French maker of luxury items from luggage to scarves has never compromised its brand image over six generations, and it has protected family control like Fort Knox gold.
Published 1 January 1998
Article
Do Americans recognize family business brands?
The article discusses the findings of the Family Business Brand Test USA which asked respondents to determine whether or not 24 firms from six different industries are family businesses carried out...
Published 1 February 2011
Article
The family business twist in 'Inception'
The article reviews the film "Inception," starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Ken Watanabe.
Published 1 February 2011
Article
The private world of family business
This article is a review of the book "The private world of family business" written by Graham Connolly and Christopher Jay, published in Australia at Pitman's in 1996.
Published 1 June 1998
Article
We are family' ... aren't we?
The article provides information about the "familiness factor" of family businesses that contribute to their superior performance over non-family businesses. It is described as the productive way o...
Published 1 August 2010
Article
Personal benchmarking
Are you as open to daring new ideas and innovation as you were when you started the business? This article explains how to find out.
Published 1 December 1997
Insight for Executives
Article
Der Familienbonus
Eigentümerfamilien sollten ihre Geschichte, ihre Werte und ihre langfristige vision offensiv in der Offentlishkeit kommunizieren. Damit stärken sie das Vertrauen von Mitarbeitern, Kunden und Invest...
Published 1 October 2016
Article
What's in a name? Family identity matters!
Over 25 years of global family business research at IMD has affirmed our belief that family businesses have the potential to outperform in the long run when compared with anonymous public corporati...
Published 8 December 2014
Article
Roots to keep family businesses honest
Family businesses by and large have built their business models by being anchored in their communities.
Published 20 August 2014
Article
Family ties don't have to be a liability
Sir, with reference to Andrew Hill's article, "A patriarch Murdoch should have emulated" (Business Life, April 1): it seems premature to predict unhappy consequences for family keeping ownership in...
Published 4 April 2014
Article
Academic view: Meet the family
Most family businesses are not very good at handling a succession. This is partly because they lack regular practice. Handovers in a family firm might only happen once every few decades, far less o...
Published 8 May 2013
Report
Private wealth and the family office: Different structures for different families
The impressive growth of private wealth on a global scale in recent decades has resulted in “The Forbes¦World’s Billionaires” list growing from some 140 billionaires when it was first launched 25 y...
Published 1 January 2013
Article
Erfolgsrezepte fĂĽr Familienbetriebe
Familienunternehmen werden weit verbreitet als Rückgrat der Wirtschaft angesehen: Sie schaffen Reichtum und¦Arbeitsplätze, sind lokal verwurzelt, verankert in ihrer Gemeinschaft – und sie existiere...
Published 18 November 2012
Article
Wise wealth: A longitudinal study on creating, managing and preserving private wealth
Family business and family office represents some of the most complex dynamics, organizations and relationships in the world, these entities are also some of the most successful.¦Introduction¦Never...
Published 1 June 2011
Article
Leverage family branding for competitive advantage
Family business brands are racing into the top ranks of the best global brands. According to the Interbrand Global Brands 2009, 26 of the top 100 were family businesses, of which 20 had moved up in...
Published 1 May 2010
Article
What the financial crisis mean for family business education
Does the current financial crisis have an impact on educational programmes for families in business? Before attempting to find an answer to this question, you need to first look at the traditional ...
Published 1 August 2009
Article
Ces entreprises familiales créatrices de richesse
Le fondateur possède souvent une personnalité hors du commun, met en cause les conventions et perçoit des opportunités là où d'autres ne voient que des obstacles.
Published 3 December 2008
Report
Europe's family offices, private equity and venture capital
This study shows that family offices have become an integral part of the European private equity investor community and that a trend of increasing allocation to the asset is likely to continue.
Published 22 November 2007
Article
Familien lassen Vermögen managen
Profis lösen zwischen den Generationen.
Published 5 November 2007
Report
Family offices and risk investment
We present the results of a study of a subset of major European family offices managing at least¦€1.5 billion. Through extensive interviews with family members and family office managers, we¦compil...
Published 1 August 2007
Report
Europe's family offices, private equity and venture capital
This study shows that family offices have become an integral part of the European private equity investor community and that a trend of increasing allocation to the asset is likely to continue.
Published 1 January 2007
Report
Europe's family offices, private equity and venture capital
This study shows that family offices have become an integral part of the European private equity investor community and that a trend of increasing allocation to the asset is likely to continue.
Published 1 January 2007
Article
Traditionen bewahren, aber auch weiterentwickeln
Published 1 July 2006
Article
La gestion des RH dans les entreprises familiales
Published 1 June 2004
Article
Unternehmer denken in Generationen
Published 1 October 2002
Article
Den Rollenkonflikt ĂĽberwinden
Published 28 August 1999
Article
IMD Distinguished Family Business Award 1999
Published 28 August 1999
Family identity steering brand success
Wise Family Business