Prof. Belén Villalonga
Senior Advisor and Associate Partner
Cambridge Family Enterprise Group
Professor Belén Villalonga is a senior advisor and associate partner at Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise, a highly specialized international advisory firm serving family enterprises, and a Fellow at Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise, a leading education and research institute dedicated to the significant issues family enterprises face. Both organizations comprise Cambridge Family Enterprise Group, a global organization founded in 1989. It is devoted to helping families achieve multigenerational success for their families, enterprises, and financial wealth.
Professor Villalonga is a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Prior to this, she was on the faculty at Harvard Business School for 11 years. She serves as an independent director at three family-controlled companies that are global leaders in their industries: Grifols (bioscience), where she chairs the Audit Committee; Acciona (renewable energy and infrastructure); and Talgo (high-speed trains), where she chairs the Strategy Committee.
Professor Villalonga has advised family-owned companies, primarily in Europe and Latin America, on key elements of effective ownership, control and governance of family businesses, and family business strategies related to diversification, divestitures, and globalization. Her areas of focus include designing and facilitating governance systems for families, businesses, and owners; aligning ownership models with corporate and business strategies; and educating, preparing, and developing family members for their roles as owners and board members. She also designs and analyzes liquidity options that allow family owners to retain control of their business, and advises on dividend policy, share redemptions, and shareholder buyout options.
Professor Villalonga’s award-winning research and teaching on family businesses is highly acclaimed. Her research is taught in the leading business schools around the world, and has been cited in more than 7,000 academic articles and featured on CNBC, NPR, and in national and international business publications. For several years, Professor Villalonga has served as a facilitator and an instructor at Harvard Business School’s Families in Business program, a six-day executive program that examines pivotal issues facing family businesses.
Professor Villalonga earned her Ph.D. in Management from the University of California at Los Angeles and a second Ph.D. in Business Economics from the Complutense University of Madrid; her M.A. in Economics from the University of California at Los Angeles and her B.A. in Economic and Management Sciences from the Colegio Universitario de Estudios Financieros in Madrid. She is fluent in English, French, and Spanish, and proficient in Italian and Portuguese.