New chair established for conducting research into family businesses

Ondertekening leerstoel familiebedrijven, v.l.n.r. Mirelle Pennings (Rabobank), Dick den Braber (BDO), Prof. dr. Pursey Heugens (Erasmus Centre for Familybusiness), Joost Vat ( BDO)

In 2016, BDO and Rabobank entered into a partnership with the Erasmus Centre for Family Business (ECFB) with the aim of improving expertise relating to family businesses in the Netherlands and the development of this segment. This partnership is now being stepped up further through the establishment of a chair in family businesses. The chair will be held by Pursey Heugens, professor of organisation theory, development, and change at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

Chair in family businesses

Family businesses are very different from other businesses. For example, family business are more likely to be run by their owners than non-family businesses, and they are also more focused on business continuity. When making important decisions, family businesses ought to be assisted by a party that listens to them and is prepared to provide advice based on sound academic research as this will contribute to their ongoing sustainable development.

Rabobank and BDO have traditionally been regarded as trusted advisers by family businesses. “We are keen to fulfil a leading role for family businesses, working in partnership with Erasmus University Rotterdam and Rabobank. We have collaborated closely during the past four years, and this has allowed us to share expertise and many new insights. We have therefore decided to build on - and step up - the partnership by establishing a dedicated chair in family businesses. This will ensure academic research into new developments in the area of family businesses continues,” said Joost Vat, partner at BDO, which is the main sponsor of the chair.

Research into family businesses

In recent years, the ECFB, BDO Accountants & Adviseurs and Rabobank have actively worked together to support top-quality research into the organisation, strategies and governance of family businesses. So far, research reports have been published on topics such as shared values within family businesses, opportunities for doing international business and the role that family businesses play as employers.

“These are not topics that are frequently discussed at many family businesses. Research of this kind can help businesses adapt to today's demands while also helping them to think about their long-term competitiveness,” Mr Heugens said. “Given this, we always select themes that reflect the current state of the economy.”

Mirelle Pennings, Director of Corporate Clients Netherlands at Rabobank, said, “During our meetings with family businesses, we can see that sharing new insights and expertise is greatly appreciated. The ability to learn from the experiences of other family businesses and the practical application of academic research are aspects that are particularly valued by family businesses, which we have a relationship based on trust. The establishment of the new chair will enhance this.’’

More information

Marianne Schouten, communications manager RSM, +31 10 408 2877 of

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