As a Bayes Business School alumni and Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow, I had the pleasure of returning back to the auditorium. This time, I gave a presentation on family business and launched my new book entitled “Transforming Challenges into Opportunities: Mastering the Art of Family Business Success“. This book is a reflection of my 47 years of experience working within a family business: 20 years simply as a member of a family with a business, and another 27 within the business.
The event took place on July 3rd 2023 under the auspices of Prof Ajay Bhalla, Professor of Family Business and Innovation at the Faculty of Management, whom I cannot thank enough for all his valuable support in providing me with such a brilliant opportunity. The auditorium was fully packed with Bayes students, academic staff, business representatives, and London City officials. The Consul General of Italy to the UK, HE Domenico Bellantone, was also present.
I started my presentation by pointing out the important role that family businesses all around the world play in the global economy. Indeed, families are behind some of the most famous and successful businesses in the world. Anyone who believes these businesses are an easy ride for any family member is mistaken. Family businesses are complex and sensitive. Some of the challenges they present are those you might expect, and some may surprise you.
Then I shared with the audience some insights on why did I choose to join the family business, Tratos, a company with strong social corporate responsibility, expressed in its mission of investing in some of the most deprived regions of Italy and the UK. I elaborated on what were the challenges during the first 12 months upon joining the family business, what challenges I have faced at different stages of my career at the family and business level, and emphasized the need for a proper business structure and successful succession planning. In the end, I provided some advice to the next generation planning to join the family business – both at the family and business levels.
I enjoyed the event thoroughly, but mostly at the end, I had the opportunity to engage with the audience in a lively session of questions and answers. My advice to the next generation planning to join the family business was to prioritize open and honest communication within the family and to maintain a strong foundation of trust, respect, and shared values. At the same time, I made it clear, it’s important to embrace continuous learning and to establish clear boundaries between family and business matters.
I gifted my book, along with a dedication to the students and other participants and used this additional moment to talk to them and learn about their family business planning and aspirations.