KPMG held its first regional Middle East & South Asia Family Business Conference earlier this week at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel in Dubai. The Conference themed ‘Family Businesses in the Middle East- Carrying on the Legacy’ was a great success with over a 100 owners and top executives from family business establishments across the Middle East and South Asian region in attendance.
Jamal Fakhro KPMG MESA Chairman and Managing Partner of the Bahrain and Qatar practice, said, “Starting a Family business is easy, relatively speaking; sustaining it beyond a couple of generations is the hardest part. One of the most important tools to support succession is having mentoring programs; appointing a non-family member mentor for each of the next generation family members joining the business proves very useful.”
While talking about operating family businesses, he said, “A part of running a successful Family Business is the 3 circle model based on family, ownership and business. The model incorporates key elements such as; succession and the next generation, governance, growth, assurance, exit strategy, philanthropy and wealth preservation.”
Christine Blondel, Adjunct Professor of Family Business of Wendel International Centre for Family Enterprise at INSEAD, presented an excellent session on ‘Succession Planning in the World’. She highlighted the fact that Family Business models have both strengths and weaknesses. Some of the issues Family Businesses are more prone to face are succession issues, family fights and miscommunication. On the reverse and seen to be strengths, they can also be highly sustainable, with long term commitments and views based largely on personal interest.
The conference covered a lot of diverse topics that have a significant impact on the operations of Family Businesses. The presenters talked about succession planning on a country, regional and global scale and also the factors that are affecting this process. Another popular topic was the transition of Family Businesses from a local business to regional and global companies and how to cope with these expansions.
Harish Gopinath the Head of Family Business and Enterprises for KPMG’s Middle East and South Asia Region, said, “Family businesses are the backbone of our economies and one of the biggest challenges these businesses are facing is probably Governance and Succession planning to the next generation. The KPMG Family Business conference was put together to explore theses challenges and to share best practices from family business owners across the region, KPMG and International subject experts to support family businesses in carrying on their legacy.”
Fawzi Aburass the Head of Family Groups for KPMG UAE said, “KPMG’s initiative to hold their first Regional Middle East and South Asia Family Conference in Dubai was highly appreciated by all those in attendance. The event was focused on succession planning which is a very important element for all family run businesses. The attendees have given stellar feedback for all the sessions held here today as they found them to be highly useful and relevant to their own situations.”