9.07.2018
Prof. Dr. Peter May in conversation with Christian Dau

"fröscher hautnah (up close)": Peter May's fascination for family businesses

Translated with www.DeepL.com

Within the framework of the "fröscher hautnah" series - this time under the motto "Digitization & Co.: Quo vadis German Mittelstand (medium sized enterprises)" - Fröscher GmbH & Co. KG invited customers and friends of the company for the second time to their exclusive business talk. After last year's premiere with Miele owner Dr. Reinhard Zinnkan, owner Thomas Fröscher was once again able to present a top-class guest to the 50 invited guests: Prof. Dr. Peter May, Managing Director of Peter May Family Business Consulting GmbH and Germany's leading consultant for family businesses. In an interview with former Porsche press boss Christian Dau, he not only explained what fascinates him about family businesses and where he sees the opportunities and risks of digitization for SMEs. He also revealed why he suffered twice on the last matchday of the past Bundesliga season.

From Governance Code and GmbH & Co. KGaA

"His talent is to think what was not thought and to feel what was not said" - with these words Thomas Fröscher introduced his guest. The law graduate and doctor of economics then described his career very personally and emotionally. As the son of a third-generation entrepreneur, "Peter the Third" - as he was called from an early age - reported on his experiences with family businesses. He described the moment when he told his father that he did not want to continue the family business as particularly pregnant. Later, when his father's health was in a bad way, he did not abandon him and took over the management for seven years. May then described how he was involved in drafting the Governance Code for family-owned companies and how he was responsible for the admissibility of GmbH & Co. KGaA as a form of company.

From company patriarchs and digital natives

According to May, the conversion from analogue to digital processes is a greater challenge for family businesses than for corporate groups, as this always requires a change in the way of thinking of a company patriarch. Many entrepreneurs have been successful for decades through evolutionary and sustainable management. Whereas the maxim used to be "three generations, one product", digitisation as an industrial revolution 4.0 could lead to a generation of entrepreneurs having to live on three products in the future. A family entrepreneur would have to react here, otherwise his own business model could be endangered. May's recommendation: to retain young people with excellent education who grew up in the digital world - so-called "digital natives" - in the company at an early stage. He sees his task as a consultant above all in sensitizing and inspiring family businesses to these issues.

The hard punch and second league menu

And of course May also revealed why he suffered twice on the last matchday of the Bundesliga: "I grew up near Cologne, where of course you were an FC fan. But I was also a passionate fan of HSV. The fact that both clubs have now relegated was a hard blow. The only positive thing: After all, I can still watch the direct matches live in the stadium; at Hamburger with Kölsch, the new second league menu," May smiled. The evening was rounded off with pleasant conversations, good food and a great atmosphere in the fröscher exhibition hall. A third edition of "fröscher hautnah" is now in the way.