World Renowned Family Business Consultants: Our History
Established in 1994, Family Business Consulting Group® co-founders Craig E. Aronoff and John L. Ward had worked together on various projects and initiatives since 1975. Already leaders in the field, they co-authored a monthly column in Nation's Business magazine and had established a publishing firm, Business Owner Resources in 1989. The Family Business Advisor® and the Family Business Leadership Series were begun in 1991.
Concerned that the rush of people promoting themselves as family business consultants did not always provide the experience, professionalism and integrity that they believed family businesses deserve, Ward and Aronoff sought others who shared their philosophy and who wished to hone their abilities serving business-owning families. Four other experienced professionals joined the group at the beginning: Joseph Astrachan (who worked with Craig at Kennesaw State University), Drew Mendoza (who worked with John at Loyola University Chicago's Family Business Center), Norbert Schwarz of Chicago (whose experience included banking and being a non-family executive in several family businesses) and Phil Sidwell of Atlanta (an industrial psychologist who had been working with family firms for thirty years). Headquarters was established in Marietta, Georgia.
In 1998, Drew Mendoza who was the founding director of the Loyola University Chicago Family Business Center resigned from both the university and his consulting activities to devote himself full-time as FBCG's managing principal. FBCG acquired Business Owner Resources from John and Craig, renaming the publishing arm Family Enterprise Publishers, a division of the Family Business Consulting Group, Inc. In 2010 the Family Business Consulting Group agreed to have all of our published works edited, published and distributed by the international publishing firm of Palgrave MacMillan New York.
Over time, four of the original principals have retired as owners: Phil Sidwell retired in 2001, Joseph Astrachan to focus on academic pursuits at Kennesaw State University in 2005; Norbert Schwarz transitioned from principal to senior advisor in 2006 and John Ward in late 2011 also transitioned from principal and member of the board to senior advisor. Senior Advisor is a title reserved for those whose stock has been redeemed by the corporation as part of the firm's intended ownership succession plans AND who continue to conduct their consulting services exclusively through FBCG. The group welcomed six new owners, Christopher Eckrich in 2000; Stephen McClure in 2001, Amy Schuman in 2006, David Lansky in 2010, and Joe Schmieder in 2012 and in 2013 Greg Greenleaf.
With our family business consultants located in Canada and throughout the United States, FBCG annually engages with hundreds of family businesses worldwide including some of the world's largest, oldest and best known business-owning families. Our books, newsletters, speeches, audio conferences and web-based content reach tens of thousands yearly.
Our intention is similar to that of many of the family businesses we serve; to perpetuate the Family Business Consulting Group, Inc.® across generations by constantly identifying and attracting outstanding professionals and continuously facilitating their improvement while reinvesting in our organization, methods and intellectual capital. That is our past, our present and our future.