16th of September 2021

family business summit

As our first main event in 2021 the WHU Family Business Club hosted a summit filled with inspiring speeches, meaningful exchanges and great networking opportunities. 

We are looking forward to our next year’s summit on the 15th of September 2022. To find Information on the 2022 Summit such as speakers, schedule and the preliminary program, klick on the box below.

Our Speakers

Interactive Keynote - The Attractiveness of Investing in Family Firms

Dr. Peter Sewing - Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Obermark Group

We are excited to announce our speaker for the first item on the agenda, the interactive keynote. Dr. Peter Sewing is Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Obermark Group. Previously he worked for McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, was Partner at Doughty Hanson & Co and co-founded  the world-wide renowned Private Equity company Triton Partners. 

2004 he co-founded his own investment company Obermark. His investment philosophy focusses on family firms and their long term financial success. The Obermark Group invests in medium-sized family firms and aims to co-develop them permanently. It will be highly interesting to hear from him about his investment principles, why he believes in family firms and what he can recommend to todays students.

Moderated Discussion - The Impact on a Family Firm as an External CEO

Stefan Gesing - CEO of Dornbracht

Great news! Stefan Gesing, CEO of Dornbracht, will be joining the WHU FBC event as well. We will speak with him about his role as an external CEO in a family business, especially the challenges and opportunity. Stefan Gesing will share with us his experience and is able to compare the corporate and family firm business world.  

Stefan Gesing, former CFO at Grohe AG and thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions AG, joined Dornbracht Group in spring 2020 supporting the 3rd generation of the Dornbracht family to overcome financial turbulences. After gaining trust from the Dornbracht family, Stefan was asked to take over full responsibility as CEO when the majority of Dornbracht Group was sold to the Knauf family. Since then Stefan and his new management team transform the German based sanitary manufacturer into a fast growing luxury brand with strong focus on design, quality and service.

Jochen Gutzy - Head of Communications at Birkenstock

We are delighted to announce that Jochen Gutzy, head of communications at the Birkenstock Group will be part of our moderated discussion „The Impact on a Family Firm as an external CEO“. 

Jochen Gutzy has been part of Birkenstock since 2013. He managed the communication when Oliver Reichert took over responsibility as the first external CEO of the traditional family business in 2012. Since then, the two and a half century old family business („Tradition since 1774“) has grown into a global lifestyle brand, with Oliver Reichert as mastermind and driving force behind this development. This year BIRKENSTOCK entered a strategic cooporation with the French-American growth investor L Catterton and Financière Agache, the private investment company of Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, opening a new chapter in the amazing growth story of the inventor of the footbed.


First Focused Talk - Taking over the Family Firm as a Couple

Dr. Benedikt & Isabelle Himbert - Managing Directors of Arno Arnold GmbH

We are excited to welcome Isabelle and Benedikt for a focused talk at our WHU Family Business Summit 2021! 

Isabelle and Benedikt are married and are successfully leading what has become their own new family business. Both WHU graduates, Isabelle and Benedikt, joined Arno Arnold GmbH respectively two years ago and four months ago. Isabelle, after gaining experience at Google, stepped in the firm as NextGen. Benedikt gained experience in investment banking, consulting and obtained a PhD before joining the company.

Separating private and working life, implementing decision making processes and understanding the family’s concerns will only be a few of the topics students and alumni will be able to discuss with them during our personal focused talk. 

We are looking forward to welcoming Isabelle and Benedikt on Campus Vallendar!

Second Focused Talk - Challenges of Succession in the NextGen Perspective

Gitta Neuhaus-Galladé - NextGen of J.D. Neuhaus Group

We are elated to introduce @Gitta Neuhaus-Galladé for our NextGen focused talk at our summit. She will share personal experiences, challenges, and expectations regarding the process of succession. Gitta will also discuss the added value of networking with other NextGen members. 

Gitta Neuhaus-Galladé is a part of the 8th generation of the @J.D. Neuhaus Group and an active shareholder of the  company founded in 1745. JDN is the world market leader in pneumatic and hydraulic lifting solutions. Currently, Gitta is working in a family-owned consultancy.


Frederic Horsch - NextGen of Horsch Maschinen GmbH

We are delighted to announce that Frederic Horsch will hold the second focused talk about his challenges as a NextGen together with Gitta Neuhaus-Galladé. He will share his insights and experience in the complex topic of succession. 

Frederic is part of the second generation of the agricultural machinery company Horsch Maschinen GmbH. Horsch grew into a worldwide leading manufacturer of agricultural engineering in comparatively few years.  

We are looking forward to welcoming Frederic Horsch and Gitta Neuhaus-Galladé on our campus in Vallendar! 

Our Program

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management
Burgplatz 2, 56179 Vallendar