WHU General

Entrepreneurial Families – Potential for Diversity or Conflict?

This year’s WHU Campus for Family Business focused on the entrepreneurial family

“Families think sustainably and with a long-term view. And that makes them resilient in times of crisis. It is the duty of every entrepreneurial family to spend sufficient time on the family, their cooperation, and their joint responsibility.” With these opening words, Birgit Heraeus-Roggendorf, Member of the Supervisory Board of Heraeus Group, opened as this year’s patron of the Campus for Family Business (CfFB).

For two days, Professor Nadine Kammerlander, Chairholder at the Institute of Family Business and Mittelstand at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, invited participants to engage in a fruitful exchange on this year’s core topic: The Role of Family Businesses – Opportunities for Diversity or Potential for Conflict? With a mix of keynotes, panel discussions, and interactive workshops, participants at the event were offered a diverse set of perspectives, some of today’s best practices, and issues family businesses are currently facing, such as the understanding of their own role and the NextGen. With the halls abuzz, all engaged in lively debates and controversial discussions.

The personal and close exchange of ideas is one the CfFB’s most unique features. Both the speakers and the guests get a chance to share their personal experiences with a close circle of family business owners, giving them something new to think about. This year’s second patron was Alexander Sixt, who shared insights into how he decided, at first, not to join his own family business—and then why he reconsidered. He reported on how generations have taken different approaches over the years, such as the sustainability and digitalization efforts that he and his brother are currently pursuing. According to Sixt, each generation needs its distinct vision.

CfFB-goers were also given exciting scientific impressions as part of the event’s science pitch. There, doctoral students from the Institute of Family Business and Mittelstand presented the current state of their research and the resulting recommendations for action. Before closing up shop, the conference concluded with a festive dinner.