BNP Paribas and SDA Bocconi Publish Family Business Governance Report


The recently published report explored issues of governance among European family businesses and the latest trends to serve as a guide for navigating changing governance structures.


Family-owned businesses are a major contingent of business in Europe, and therefore, play a significant economic role. BNP Paribas Wealth Management and SDA Bocconi School of Management teamed up to analyze the industry and identify some of the biggest trends emerging among family businesses across Europe.


First launched at the beginning of June in Paris during an exclusive event, the report was recently presented in Milan by Alessandro Minichilli, Full Professor of Corporate Governance at SDA Bocconi and Luca Bonansea and Pierre Ramadier of BNP Paribas. They spoke about the results of the report and how generational changes can be managed by family governance for protracted success.


In some countries, like Italy, Spain and France, family business makes up around 80% of business organizations, contributing overall to 50% of the EU’s GDP and covering 40 and 50% of jobs in the private sector. In Italy, their influence is particularly prominent, making up almost half of the most important 1,000 companies.


“Family firms are the backbone of our European economy. They have proven their resilience and major role in our communities, deploying capital over the long run, and integrating sustainable practices in their daily operations,” says Pierre Ramadier, Global Head of Entrepreneurs & Families coverage, BNP Paribas Wealth Management. "Family governance is an increasingly crucial topic for entrepreneurial families as they grow and undergo succession processes and transitions in general", commented Alessandro Minichilli, Director of the Corporate Governance Lab at SDA Bocconi and responsible of this research. "This guide, thanks to the cooperation with BNPWM, aims to provide a concrete and concise set of knowledge, practices and experiences coming from the largest family business in Europe to support the design of family governance in family firms of every size".


The findings of the report aim to guide the managers and advisors of family businesses as they navigate governance for long-term success.


The emerging trends surveyed found a significant number of family businesses are pursuing impact investing, which also requires them to reformulate governance structures. Digital innovation is a top priority for the majority of these businesses, through initiatives like digital platforms. Finally, educating the next generation is of vital importance, and among family businesses, this is done early, particularly in areas like social media and marketing, sustainable business practices and the development of new product lines.

SDA Bocconi School of Management

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