Award criteria

In selecting the award winner, a panel of independent jury experts examines different aspects of the family business. Careful consideration is given to the personalities and values of the people who run the business, the way in which they unite their family and business interests and combine tradition and innovation while demonstrating a clear commitment to their local communities. The Award is based on excellence in the following areas:

1. Family Values

  • Adherence to shared vision across generations
  • Active collaboration across generations
  • Faithfulness to values and the transfer of heritage
  • Reinforcement of core family and business values
  • Loyalty to employees, shareholders, clients, suppliers, and the community
  • Company family-owned and managed for at least three generations.

2. Business Values

  • Excellence in performance standards
  • Dominance of family values
  • Growing and profitable company
  • International presence
  • Clarity of the communication strategy
  • Personal, hands-on involvement of several members of the family
  • Minimum annual revenues of USD 500M

3. Succession

  • Excellence in governance – selection, development, independence, consolidation of family relations
  • Expertise passed on within the family
  • Ability to adapt over time and through the generations
  • Preparation, engagement, education of next generation

Award process

Step 1 - Call for nominations (March-May)

IMD solicit nominations from family business alumni, contacts and all members of the Family Business Network. Self-nomination is possible.

Step 2 - Develop the shortlist of nominees (May-June)

Based on the award criteria, a shortlist is developed through initial research and evaluation of the nominees. This process is supervised by IMD’s family business faculty and researchers.

Step 3 - Prepare the evaluation booklet (May-June) 

Advanced research and personal interviews are conducted with key family members from the nominee shortlist. An evaluation booklet is prepared including full profiles, interviews and caselets for each of the nominees.

Step 4 - Jury vote (June)

The award jury votes individually and anonymously.

Step 5 - Contact the winner and prepare the case study (July-September)

The winner is contacted and a full case study and film are developed in preparation for the award ceremony.

Step 6 - Award Ceremony (October)

The announcement of the winner and the Award Ceremony take place at the FBN Summit, which is held in a different global location each year.


Chopard has crafted the beautiful IMD Global Family Business Award trophy. Every year, the trophy is individually crafted in its Geneva workshop. Held between two glass plates fixed in a rock crystal base, the trophy represents a tree kept in an elegant pear wood case.

Through its roots firmly planted in the ground and its branches reaching towards the sky, the tree symbolizes the stability, the link between past, present and future, and the continuity of generations. It provides a powerful metaphor of family business spirit that draws its strength from tradition in order to develop the future.

Complimentary learning journeys at IMD
The IMD Global Family Business Center offers two complimentary seats for the winner to attend either the Leading the Family Business program and/or Leading the Family Office program.