Francois de Visscher
Senior Advisor and Partner
Cambridge Family Enterprise Group
Francois de Visscher is a senior advisor and partner at Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise, a highly specialized international advisory firm serving family enterprises. Cambridge Advisors and Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise, an education and research institute, are divisions of 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.
A native of Belgium, Mr. de Visscher has advised business-owning families for over 30 years in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. He is a trusted advisor to family ownership groups, family offices, and family companies on a wide range of financial areas that span all evolutionary stages of the life of a family and its assets. These include advising on shareholder liquidity, capital needs and financing, intergenerational wealth and estate transfers, ownership and business restructuring, corporate acquisitions and divestitures, corporate and family governance, family office organization and performance, and diversification opportunities including direct investing.
In 1990, Mr. de Visscher founded de Visscher & Co., one of the world’s leading independent financial consulting firms for family and closely-held companies. He and his team have advised over 300 family companies and family offices worldwide on issues of liquidity, growth capital, and business and family governance. In 2010, de Visscher & Co. developed “Family Capital Partners” as a network of Single-Family Offices to make direct co-investments with other families (“Families Investing in Families®”). Prior to founding his own firm, Mr. de Visscher was a partner at Smith Barney, where he founded and ran Wall Street’s first Family Business Group.
Mr. de Visscher is a shareholder of his own family’s global enterprise, N.V. Bekaert S.A., headquartered in Belgium and controlled by the fourth generation. Bekaert was founded by his great-grandfather in 1880. Today the Bekaert Group has sales of $5 billion, operates in over 120 countries, and manufactures and markets a wide variety of steel wire and related products. The family company is publicly-traded and controlled by the Bekaert Family across four generations. Mr. de Visscher has held roles as a director on the board, a member of the family council, and shareholder of the business.
Among his contributions to the family enterprise field, Mr. de Visscher served as a director and president of The Family Firm Institute (FFI), the preeminent association for family enterprise professionals. He is the former chairman of the European Family Office Conference, and has been a full-time contributing editor of Family Business Magazine. He has contributed to many leading publications including The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and New York Times. In 2003, Mr. de Visscher received the Richard Beckhard Practice Award from the Family Firm Institute in recognition of his many contributions to the practice of advising family companies.
Mr. de Visscher is Honorary Consul of Belgium in the United States and serves as Chairman of The Society of Friends of Belgium in America. He is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of CPAs. He holds a Bachelor of Economics honors degree from Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and an MBA from Rutgers University. Mr. de Visscher is fluent in English, Dutch, French and proficient in German and Spanish.