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When companies change hands

A research study by the Polytechnic University of Milan investigates the truth

A company that endures over time, outliving its founders and creators: this is the common aim of all discerning entrepreneurs and managers, yet also a difficult goal to achieve, especially when considering the many different changes in circumstances affecting the company every time its ownership changes – and this goal is even harder to accomplish when the transfer of ownership occurs within the same family.

As such, learning about the practicalities involved in each case is as important as understanding the theoretical implications.

Thus, reading Family Business Succession: A Business Case Study on HEAT S.r.l., research thesis by Roberto Cortinovis recently discussed at the Polytechnic University of Milan, is very worthwhile.

The object of the research, as stated by the author, is to investigate what characterises “a succession in a family business, taking into account the figures involved and the main points to be taken into consideration.” Cortinovis immediately plunges into the heart of the matter: “Many theories tried to standardize the common features that can be found in different family businesses, but, due to the heterogeneity of them, some specific considerations and assumptions need to be” verified in each case.

This study applies theoretical knowledge to provide a first interpretation of the circumstances before tackling a concrete case study: that of HEAT S.r.l., a small-medium Italian business founded and managed by Pierangelo, the owner, “who is going to soon retire.” The company, the author adds, is actually owned by three people, Pierangelo and his two brothers, and their families are involved, too – especially their children, the second generation expected to take on the business over the years.

Essentially, Cortinovis’s work analyses a classic examples of what typically happens in the Italian industrial system – and this is precisely why it makes for intriguing research.

Family Business Succession: A Business Case Study on HEAT S.r.l.

Roberto Cortinovis

Thesis, Polytechnic University of Milan, Master’s of Management Engineering, 2022

A research study by the Polytechnic University of Milan investigates the truth

A company that endures over time, outliving its founders and creators: this is the common aim of all discerning entrepreneurs and managers, yet also a difficult goal to achieve, especially when considering the many different changes in circumstances affecting the company every time its ownership changes – and this goal is even harder to accomplish when the transfer of ownership occurs within the same family.

As such, learning about the practicalities involved in each case is as important as understanding the theoretical implications.

Thus, reading Family Business Succession: A Business Case Study on HEAT S.r.l., research thesis by Roberto Cortinovis recently discussed at the Polytechnic University of Milan, is very worthwhile.

The object of the research, as stated by the author, is to investigate what characterises “a succession in a family business, taking into account the figures involved and the main points to be taken into consideration.” Cortinovis immediately plunges into the heart of the matter: “Many theories tried to standardize the common features that can be found in different family businesses, but, due to the heterogeneity of them, some specific considerations and assumptions need to be” verified in each case.

This study applies theoretical knowledge to provide a first interpretation of the circumstances before tackling a concrete case study: that of HEAT S.r.l., a small-medium Italian business founded and managed by Pierangelo, the owner, “who is going to soon retire.” The company, the author adds, is actually owned by three people, Pierangelo and his two brothers, and their families are involved, too – especially their children, the second generation expected to take on the business over the years.

Essentially, Cortinovis’s work analyses a classic examples of what typically happens in the Italian industrial system – and this is precisely why it makes for intriguing research.

Family Business Succession: A Business Case Study on HEAT S.r.l.

Roberto Cortinovis

Thesis, Polytechnic University of Milan, Master’s of Management Engineering, 2022