Family businesses, an open challenge on internationalization


Il Sole 24Ore | December 1, 2019

The Il Sole 24Ore article, "Family businesses, an open challenge on internationalization," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Beatrice Ballini and featured the firm's paper, "Family Business Study 2019." The article is excerpted below.

Strong familiarity in boards where family members are the younger components. The main challenges concern the willingness to internationalization and digitalization. Their strengths include their ability to withstand the impact of recessions and their focus on long-term returns and investments. This is what emerges from the "Family business study 2019" by Russell Reynolds Associates.

The challenge is internationalization and resistance beyond the third generation. Their strengths lie in their ability to withstand the impact of recessions and their focus on long-term returns and investments. Also, we should not forget that family businesses contribute to 60% of GDP and guarantee 70% of jobs nationwide, as they represent 2/3 of national businesses. This is the most up-to-date picture of Italian family businesses taken by Russell Reynolds Associates, an international management consulting and executive search company.

The study

"Family business study 2019" compares the boards of directors of family businesses with those of non-family businesses, both in Italy and in 3 other European countries: France, Germany and Spain.

For each country, 40 listed companies (20 family businesses and 20 non-family businesses) were analyzed. Family businesses are those where family members are major shareholders or are involved in the management and are at least second generation members.


“Family businesses play a key role in the context of the national production system but are exposed to some major challenges,” notes Beatrice Ballini, managing director of Russell Reynolds. “Less than 30% of family businesses - continues Bellini - survive the third generation, mostly due to insufficient skills by the incoming generations. The selection of business leaders is complex, full of emotional, economic and governance challenges, and the process of transmitting family values must constantly include new elements inside and outside families, so that it can face an increasingly rapid and complex competitive arena.”

To read the full article, click here.