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Foundations are booming like never before


COLOGNE. Joachim Herz was always in his family as querulous. More than once, the 2008 accident was Tchibo heritage and BeiersdorfShareholder-fold from the family-owned. But with his will to the merchant’s son proved that he really only wanted one thing: hold together the fractious family clan. His fortune of an estimated one billion bequeathed the legacy of a childless Company Foundation supports the project since the summer of 2009 in education and science, while almost 20 percent of the family holding company holds Maxinvest.

What he failed in his lifetime to bring peace with his brothers Michael and Wolfgang, abolished by Joachim Herz Foundation, named after him, finally his posthumously: the family sat down at a table and ended their disputes.

"Do Family Foundations is currently establishing a real boom," says Klaus Schweinsberg, partner of Intes Academy for family businesses. "But are about 40 of the 100 largest family businesses in Germany, already active as early as the foundations. Another dozen or so plans to go in the foreseeable future with their new foundations to the starting line," the expert believes to owner-managed companies. These include, for example, the founder of the Otto-Versand Hamburg Werner Otto. Two days before his 100th Birthday – in August 2009 – announced a native of Brandenburg, with his third wife, Maren future, poor, elderly people in Berlin and Brandenburg on the Werner and Maren Otto Support Foundation.

That just now to redeploy in the economic crisis so many family-owned enterprises, parts of their corporate assets in charitable foundations, not only to do with charity too. In economically difficult times, but increases the risk that family members of the company go from the pole, and suddenly want to be paid.

"A sword of Damocles hanging above all of family businesses of the third and fourth generation," said lawyer Mark Binz Binz & Partner in Stuttgart. "Clans who know do it together, as a family of entrepreneurs to the fifth generation, in general, how to survive crises and conflicts, and maintain a conscious rituals and tools that strengthen the cohesion." No wonder then, that engage traditional department stores such as Bertelsmann, Heraeus or Haniel itself for decades as a founder. You know you pull institutions which have the good deed for the community feeling of the shareholders.

"Family business so far scoring foundations in life if they found no successor in the family, they want today, so often bind to the growing number of shareholders in the company," says Binz. "Open foundations but also the ability to assign a role to those family members who would not feel comfortable on the advisory board or committee members," said Schweinsberg. Like, for example Beate Heraeus, a philologist and daughter of the founder of the eponymous Hanauer high-tech group, as the Board of Bertha Heraeus and Kathinka Square Dorff Foundation, the educational landscape inspired. Even the children of entrepreneurs do not even have to have entrepreneurial talent, so Schweinsberg. When doctors or artists but they could bring their skills in foundations for the company.