Sunday 23 January 2022

Ghazi Abu Nahl
Image courtesy: CampdenFB

‘Business in the family not beyond two generations’

LONDON, August 29, 2018

Entrepreneurs must not be tempted to make their business a dynasty and keep business in the family beyond two generations if they want long-term success, self-made insurance magnate Ghazi Abu Nahl has warned.

In an interview with CampdenFB, Abu Nahl, founder and CEO of global business group Nest Investments (Holdings), highlighted the importance of professionalism in developing a family business.

"Entrepreneurs bring a unique DNA and set the tone of the organisation, but a world-class business needs world-class processes and professionals onboard," Abu Nahl explained. According to him, businesses run the risk of stagnating if they rely on the founding family alone. Fresh blood is needed, both for new ideas and to avoid a sense of entitlement in future generations.

The story of his business is a case in point. Founded by a family of Palestinian refugees in 1989, Nest Investments has a turnover of over US 660 million with a presence in the insurance, reinsurance, banking and real estate sectors. Although still family-owned, Nest employs over 1,500 people across its global operations and is eager to continue benefiting from external perspectives and expertise.

Ghazi Abu Nahl has focused on professionalism and training with his own children, who sit on the Nest board today. His three sons and two daughters each began their involvement with the Group around the time of their 15th birthdays. At first, they were simply to shadow his board, and encouraged to debate processes and decisions at the dining table as they steadily continued to get to know the business. They continued with formal education before taking permanent positions at Nest Investments.

For future generations, steps have been taken to separate the Nest Group from the Abu Nahl family in all management matters as the business has been split into two the family office, and the independent Nest Investments. The structure means family members can limit future involvement in the business and pursue other interests.

"It is no secret that most family businesses do not survive past the third generation. We need to do something about that. The cultures that run through family businesses - fostering security, loyalty and long-term thinking - are just what our economies need in today's volatile world," Ghazi Abu Nahl concluded.

Nest Investments is a diversified international business group operating across more than 20 countries in North America, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific. Founded in 1989, Nest Investments was one of the pioneers of insurance in the Gulf region and has become a regional leader in the space, as well as developing significant expertise in other areas, notably real estate and banking. The Group holds assets of over $5 billion today, with annual turnover in 2016 in excess of $600 million. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Family business |

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