Preparing Owners of a Family Business 2015

Sheraton Commander Hotel
Cambridge, MA
September 30 - October 3, 2015

A 4-day Education Program on the Understanding and Skills Needed to be an Effective Owner

THE NEED FOR STRONG OWNERS IS INDISPUTABLE. Strong owners provide stability, vision and capital to their company. Families provide an especially solid ownership foundation which gives their companies an undeniable financial advantage. Owners have a significant role in a family business and hold ultimate decision-making power.

YET MANY FAMILY OWNERS ARE UNPREPARED to execute their ownership role. Most business families treat ownership as a birthright, passing shares in the company to heirs as part of their inheritance. However, owners rarely receive an adequate orientation to ownership or proper training on how to contribute effectively. Business leaders wouldn’t hire an executive to manage their business without proper preparation, yet most family business leaders put their companies in the hands of untrained owners.

UNTRAINED OWNERS PUT COMPANIES AT RISK. The costs of having unprepared family owners can be high, from stripping resources out of the company to confusing management to sowing disorder in the organization. In today’s competitive, global environment companies can’t risk having unqualified owners at the helm.

Do the current and future owners of your family business know what it means to be successful owners? Would they benefit from a compact program that teaches the understanding and skills needed to perform well?

The Preparing Owners of a Family Business program offers training on the essentials of owning a family business. Over 3.5 days, through rich discussion, classroom sessions, exercises and Harvard case studies, participants will understand the realities of business ownership and acquire skills needed to be effective owners.

Topics include:


  • What ownership is, and the benefits, rights and responsibilities of owners
  • What do the board, management and trustees do, and how they should coordinate with owners
  • Ways that owners can contribute to the family business appropriately and significantly


  • Key indicators that owners need to understand and track in order to oversee financial performance
  • Primary decisions owners are asked to make, and how to adequately prepare to make them
  • Wealth strategy from an owner’s perspective


  • Basics of shareholder agreements and why you need one
  • Governance for an ownership group
  • How worldclass boards function


  • Ways to keep the owners united and committed
  • How owners can assess and develop themselves to be a high performing ownership group


  • Ways to effectively pass ownership to a prepared next generation


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Program Chair: Andrew Hier

Program Chair: Andrew Hier

Fellow, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise

Andrew Hier is an advisor to business families globally, specializing in family and business governance, shareholder relationships, ownership strategies and succession issues. Mr. Hier is co-author of the forthcoming book, Understanding the Power of Ownership. He is active in the Family Firm Institute (FFI), an association of advisors serving families, having co-chaired the 2014 Global Conference, and holds a certificate in family business advising from FFI.

Professor John A. Davis

Professor John A. Davis

Founder and Chairman, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise;
Chair, Families in Business Program, Harvard Business School

For over thirty years, John A. Davis has served as an academic, advisor, writer and speaker in the family enterprise field. He is a leading authority on family enterprise and family wealth. He is Founder and Chairman of the Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise, and Chair of the Families in Business program at Harvard Business School. He is author of Enduring Advantage: Collected Essays on Family Enterprise, Next Generation Success and Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business, a preeminent work in the family enterprise field.

Eduardo Gentil

Eduardo Gentil

Fellow, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise

Eduardo Gentil is an advisor to business families on issues related to succession, financial planning, ownership strategies, governance and recruiting and retaining a non-family CEO. Since 2000 he has led the São Paulo office of Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise, a global advisory firm serving business families, where he is Senior Partner. Prior to advising family enterprises, Mr. Gentil spent his career in investment banking in Brazil and New York.

Professor Belen Villalonga

Professor Belen Villalonga

Fellow, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise;
Associate Professor of Management & Finance, New York University Stern School of Business

Professor Belen Villalonga’s teaching, research, and advisory work focuses on family enterprise governance, strategy, and finance. She has developed and taught family business courses and programs for graduate and undergraduate students as well as for executives and business families around the world. She has written several articles about how family ownership and control influence the management and governance of firms and, ultimately, their performance.

Dr. Babetta von Albertini

Dr. Babetta von Albertini

Special Counsel, Withers Bergman LLP

Babetta von Albertini focuses her practice on international trusts and estates planning for private clients. Ms. von Albertini particularly enjoys working with large international families on multi-generational planning with a focus on governance matters for owners of closely held businesses. Ms. von Albertini is a dual qualified common law/civil law attorney (admitted to the bars of New York and Zurich, Switzerland) and holds a Tax LL.M. from New York University. She has over ten years of international cross-border trusts and estates planning experience and three years of international cross-border capital markets experience.

Dr. Hasan Inetas

Dr. Hasan Inetas

Partner, Marxer & Partner Attorneys-at-Law

Hasan Inetas is a partner at Marxer & Partner Attorneys-at-Law, Liechtenstein’s oldest and largest law firm. Mr. Inetas specializes in advising family businesses. He has significant experience advising global families on corporate governance matters and wealth structuring. Before joining Marxer & Partner, Mr. Inetas was as a senior attorney at CHSH Cerha Hempel Spiegelfeld Hlawati, one of Austria’s leading corporate law firms, advising clients on cross-border M&A transactions and corporate law issues. Prior to this, Mr. Inetas was an associate with law firms in New York and Austria and for the state of Vorarlberg, Austria.

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Sheraton Commander Hotel

In the heart of Harvard Square in historic Cambridge, Massachusetts.



The program is a basic-to-intermediate level course for teams of:

  • New owners
  • Inexperienced owners
  • Non-working (inactive) owners
  • Soon-to-be successor owners
  • Other owners who aspire to elevate the competency of the ownership group, grow in their ownership role, or who want to plan for eventual ownership succession

Teams of three or more individuals from the same family are encouraged. The program is particularly valuable for teams of next generation siblings and cousins, who benefit from working together as owners. If feasible, we recommend that a senior family member (owner, board member or family executive) attend with the next generation group, in order to deepen the learning by applying the program’s lessons to their own family business.


$7,500 USD per person
$6,500 USD per person for groups of 3 or more from the same family or company.

The registration fee includes tuition, materials, and most meals. Please arrange for your own travel and hotel accommodations.



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