“Our family businesses provide great opportunities for growth if we do our homework right on the topics of leadership, professionalism and family governance,”- Thomas Schmidheiny

Dr. Thomas Schmidheiny, a major business figure in Switzerland, has been actively pursuing several philanthropic initiatives across the world. A mechanical engineer by training, with an MBA from IMD Lausanne and an honorary doctorate from Tufts University, USA, Dr Schmidheiny comes from an illustrious family of industrialists and political leaders. For over two decades, Dr Schmidheiny was the Chairman and CEO of HOLCIM, the world’s leading cement, concrete and aggregates enterprise. He built the business internationally and is currently the company’s largest stakeholder. Dr. Thomas Schmidheiny says that though his heart is much more entrepreneurial than philanthropic, his business always places high importance on the triple bottom line - i.e., financial, ecological, and social performance. While the overall goal of business is to create value, the base of value creation is composed of the people involved and therefore business must contribute to the larger social cause. His philanthropic initiatives are rooted in a distinct philosophy that is not only limited to funding but also focused on results. 

In his philanthropic activities, Dr. Schmidheiny assigns a lot of significance to the field of education and supports several institutions. He believes in investing in quality management and spending personal time to ensure that philanthropic initiatives deliver results. He opines that philanthropy is not only limited to giving a cheque to the beneficiary but it is also important to demand accountability and timely delivery of assured outcomes to fulfill the purpose. It is this test of accountability and delivery in which the family business Chair performed par-excellence over the years. This helped the ISB gain Dr. Schmidheiny’s trust and a larger commitment, leading to the creation of the Centre. His continued support strengthens our resolve to keep creating value for society and family businesses.