Family businesses – listed and non-listed – count amongst the largest, most successful and enduring organisations in the world. This is also true in Belgium: family businesses represent 77% of all companies with personnel, 45% of the work force and 33% of the Belgian GDP. Their economic importance cannot be understated. Some of these companies have a long-lasting history that spans over generations, even though several studies have shown that fewer than 15 % of family businesses survive into the third generation of family ownership.
One obvious question is: what explains the sustainable success of these family firms which last beyond the third generation? This question has triggered years of research, and for sure good governance is part of the answer. Governance is considered as the “art of aligning interests”. This is all the more valid for family businesses, where corporate governance and family governance need to be aligned, with a culture and a vision that will be embodied by all the actors involved.
The Family Business Award of Excellence® recognises family businesses that have demonstrated outstanding practices in the areas of family and corporate governance, vision and maintenance of family values, transmission of the entrepreneurial spirit across generations, communication and societal commitment. As such, it provides us with a unique sample of the best-performing family businesses in Belgium, in terms of financial performance and longevity. The GUBERNA centre for family business governance wanted to grasp this opportunity to analyse the governance choices of these firms and to identify best practices. We are convinced that the latter can serve as lessons learned for the broader family business community. The findings of our analysis are provided in the present report.
If you are already a member of GUBERNA, you can download the full report below by connecting to your member profile.
If you are not a member of GUBERNA you can request the full study report here.