“Family businesses are the best form of capitalist businesses. But they also require outside impulses to develop their full potential.”
The work we undertake together is based on five basic convictions:
1. Love of family businesses: A love for family businesses forms the basis of our work together. Family businesses are not perfect, but they are the best form of capitalist economic activity.
2. Creating sustainable benefits: We assist owners of family businesses with fulfillment of their entrepreneurial responsibility – from the joint development of concepts to their successful implementation. So your entrepreneurial dream can continue. From generation to generation.
3. A strong team: We work together – because we’re better together, and because we like each other. Each of us contributes his or her personal abilities – for the benefit of our clients, and in the interest of the entire undertaking.
4. Simply better: We place the highest demands on the quality of our work. At the same time, we are “incorruptible,” respectful and, if need be, disruptive.
5. A compelling theoretical foundation: The May Method is the common foundation of our work. Because we are convinced that a world-class theoretical foundation makes the difference. True to the guiding principle: “Theories are like maps. They may not be reality, but they make reality easier to navigate.”
b. January 12, 1958 | married, 4 children | Lawyer
Peter May is one of the leading experts on family businesses and a pioneer in providing strategic consulting to their owners. In a profile, a major German business newspaper described him as “the man who understands families.” The lawyer and business administrator advises and supports well-known business families and is the founder of PETER MAY Family Business Consulting.
Back 1998, he founded INTES, the first company focused on consulting and qualification for business families in Germany, and developed it into the leading brand in its segment. In 2013, he sold INTES to PwC. Since then, he has worked as a strategic consultant and in numerous joint projects with PwC and INTES.
Peter May is an honorary professor at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar and has taught at various universities. From 2008 until 2009, he was Wild Group Chair of Family Business at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Early on, he called for an independent approach to business administration for family businesses. With the INTES Principle, the 3-Dimensional Model, the Owner Strategy and the Family Constitution, he developed important concepts for advising family businesses and business families.
He has also launched numerous initiatives for family businesses. He initiated the world’s first Governance Code for Family Businesses (2004 in Germany and 2005 in Austria) as well as the Family Business Owner of the Year Award (since 2004), the entrepreneurs association FBN Deutschland (since 2000), and the Institute for Family Business at WHU. Peter May is President of the Governance Commission, Jury Chairman of the Family Business Owner of the Year and Managing Director of FBN Deutschland. With the Business Owner Success Forum at Schloss Bensberg (since 1998), he has also created one of the most important conferences for family business owners.
Peter May is also an author and the publisher of numerous publications on the topic of family businesses. His standard works, Erfolgsmodell Familienunternehmen [Family Businesses as Models of Success] and Die Inhaberstrategie im Familienunternehmen – Eine Anleitung [The Owner Strategy in Family Businesses: A Guide], have been translated into various languages.
The areas of focus for Peter May’s work are in in-depth personal support of business-owning families (including advisory and supervisory board activities) as well as taking on difficult and particularly exciting consulting mandates.
His guiding principle is: “Family businesses are my passion. I am happy to have been able to combine this passion with my penchant for sharing knowledge and experience, and to turn my calling into a career. I love my work and everything connected with it.”
b. August 6, 1964 | married, 1 child | Lawyer, tax consultant
Karin Ebel is a recognized expert on family businesses. Combining many years of work in owner strategy for business-owning families and expertise in tax laws, she offers a unique approach toward developing ownership strategies and succession concepts. Karin Ebel combines structure and emotion to finds the right solutions for the individual business-owning family. A longtime partner of Peter May, Karin Ebel is particularly familiar with the content of his work.
After earning her degree in law and business administration, Karin Ebel gained her first career experience with family businesses in a well-known law firm before joining Peter May in setting up the consulting business of INTES. After several years of successful self-employment, in early 2016 she became the first partner in PETER MAY Family Business Consulting, which had just been established by Peter May. Karin Ebel is a member of advisory boards and a sought-after speaker at conferences and events for business owners, both in Germany and abroad.
Her guiding principle is: “I have long and repeatedly been fascinated with the tension between family and enterprise. Mingling factual and emotional topics often casts families into a whirlwind of unanswered questions and misunderstandings – causing them to suffer as a result. It is important to break this vicious circle and give every family member adequate space for his or her concerns. To find shared solutions that will last – for the family and the business. That is my mission and my contribution to our business families – and my passion.”
b. August 26, 1975 | married, 3 children | Lawyer
Business families value Arno Lehmann-Tolkmitt as an expert and confidant. He combines qualifications, experience and a pronounced ability to get people to talk to one another, even in challenging situations, and to lead them to solutions. He assists business owners and business-owning families in the context of moderation and mediation when it comes to personal choices, owner strategies and shaping governance models in succession situations.
As a lawyer, he came to INTES early on. He gained professional diversity through several years working for a private bank and receiving training as a business mediator. His status as partner at INTES Consulting was followed by several years of self-employment before he brought his consulting firm to Peter May Family Business Consulting. With Peter May and Karin Ebel, he shares more than 15 years of respect, friendship and passion for business families.
His guiding principle is: “As a family, we’ve never spoken this way about ourselves and our company: If we want to achieve something we’ve never had before, we have to do something we’ve never done before.”
b. December 2, 1967 | married, 2 children | Business Economist
With a Ph.D. In business administration, Matthias Händle himself comes from an business family and has more than 20 years of management experience in the family business of Wilh. Hamm. Following the merger of Hamm and Reno, he led the company as Chairman of the Board until early 2017. As a partner in PETER MAY Family Business Consulting, he sees to it that your owner strategy is implemented successfully; as an active advisor, coach or personal guide, he helps you develop and carry out decisions of owner strategy.
b. February 11, 1961 | married, 4 children | Lawyer
Karin May is a lawyer, Master of Mediation and Systemic Coach. She began working with INTES in 2008 and with the team at PETER MAY Family Business Consulting in 2013. To her, it is especially important to support business families as part of a moderated process of interaction on the way to developing fitting governance rules.
From 2011 to 2013, she was Managing Director of the INTES Family Business Academy. For years, she helped shape important events such as the Business Owner Success Forum with the award presented to the to the “Family Business Owner of the Year.”
Thanks to to her dual qualification in legal and systemic questions, the main focus of Karin May’s work is in facilitating orientation and decision-making processes, both in finding solutions to conflicts and in assisting the business-owning family with development of owner-strategy concepts.
Her guiding principle is: “Families whose members have learned to distinguish between the ‘family hat’ and the ‘business hat’ have created an essential basis for conflict reduction."
Sabine Rau is regarded as Germany’s leading expert in the academic investigation of family businesses. She is the author of numerous publications and academic articles around the topic of family businesses. For many years, she has also brought passion and success to her work advising business families both in Germany and abroad. As Academic Advisor at PETER MAY Family Business Consulting, she promotes interaction between academic research and consulting methodology and is involved in selected consulting projects.
The main focus of her work: Sabine Rau takes on exciting, difficult, consulting mandates in the field of owner strategy – often an international level – and is our specialist for support of the next generation.
In addition to the six partners, our team also includes other highly qualified colleagues who assist us with our projects and our work.
b. June 19, 1969 | married, 1 child | Lawyer
Following a degree in law and a doctoral degree, Joke Bahadir joined the team around Peter May and Karin Ebel in 2000; she thus has a long track record of providing advice to business-owning families. In addition, Joke Bahadir has long been a university instructor in the fields of business administration and law, as well as an experienced seminar instructor on topics around business and the business family.
The focus of her work is on accompanying business-owning families during the succession process and its legal implementation.
Her guiding principle is: “As a member of a business family myself, I have a good sense of the areas of friction in families. The performance and the problems that result from the interaction of family and business fascinate me every time I encounter them.”
b. May 4, 1957 | married, 2 children | Lawyer, tax consultant, mediator
Dieter Jeschke studied law (1st and 2nd state examination) and economics (diploma) and holds further Master’s degrees in international taxation and mediation. He began his career in a law firm in Stuttgart that specialized in counseling family businesses, with a focus on business succession and drafting of articles of association. There, he soon advanced to a position as partner. After a long career as an attorney, he became sole director of a listed holding company, which he successfully restructured. After two terms in office, he returned to consulting and became a partner at INTES Beratung für Familienunternehmen. He has assisted and supported family businesses as a member of supervisory and advisory boards for many decades. As a result, he knows the governance structures of enterprises from a variety of perspectives: as a board member/managing director, as a member of a supervisory body, and as a consultant.
The focus of his work lies in avoiding and moderating shareholder conflicts through balanced design of statutes and solutions to problems, improving governance structures and assisting with succession processes.
b. September 20, 1963 | Lawyer, mediator
After studying law, Regine Wieland began her professional career in a civil law notary's office and subsequently switched to the banking sector. Based on many years of experience in risk management both in Germany and around the globe, Ms. Wieland is capable of recognizing and analyzing complex economic relationships as well as the associated legal issues. She assesses the interests of all stakeholders to define individual solutions. Her training as mediator, which she completed at the University of Heidelberg, is particularly helpful in this regard.
Regine Wieland's work focuses on the development and implementation of owner strategies and succession concepts.
We complement our team through a network of exclusive skilled partners, with whom we work on a case-by-case basis.
We have a particularly close relationship with the INTES Family Business Academy and its current owner, PwC. Together, we realize projects such as
as well as in-house seminars for family businesses and exciting consulting projects, both in Germany and abroad.
The partners at PETER MAY Family Business Consulting are also members of the advisory network of the INTES Family Business Academy. In addition, Peter May advises PwC on strategic issues for family businesses.
Working together, in recent years we have worked successfully with many tremendous family businesses. Below are a few selected comments about us and our work.
“With his understanding and approach, over the past three decades, Peter May has managed to become a kind of paternal friend to many family business owners. (...) The 59-year-old is a welcome advisor right up to the executive levels of Germany’s largest family-owned businesses and some Dax-listed corporations.” (Handelsblatt, October 26, 2017)
“Today, Peter May is a brand and the undisputed address of choice when it comes to family strategy or shareholder mediation.” (Mark Binz in Handelsblatt, October 26, 2017)
“The family whisperer: Peter May looks through many a keyhole others would like to see through. He is one of the few consultants and lawyers in Germany who have earned the trust of a rare but economically interesting species: the family business.” (Handelsblatt, May 21, 2013)
“Peter May has driven and promoted the development of independent business administration for family businesses like no other. He is a stroke of luck for family businesses.” (Dr. Reinhard Zinkann, Miele)
“As a business and as a family, we have had excellent experience with the consulting of Arno Lehmann-Tolkmitt. He managed to gain a superb sense of the business and the family, identifying potential conflicts and finding suitable solutions. Together, we were able to develop pioneering choices and guidelines. In particular, we came to appreciate his ability to be able to moderate conflict situations with great skill. We look back with fondness on the work-intensive yet extremely fruitful process. The overall concept was accepted and respected in equal measure by the shareholders, the family and the employees.” (Kerstin Schönherr, BMV Mineralöl Versorgungsgesellschaft)
“We worked with Peter May very intensely and very effectively. The difficult task of successfully integrating a family member as a successor was resolved tremendously. Professor May had an excellent understanding of applying conceptual ideas as a friendly tool for creative provocation that then led to practicable solutions applied with great understanding.” (Volkmar Wywiol, Stern-Wywiol Group)
“Karin Ebel is an excellent consultant for the succession process. She manages to take highly sensitive and emotional topics and moderate them empathetically, and at the same time very clearly and objectively.” (Dr. Lis Hannemann-Strenger, Strenger Group)
“Dear Mr. Lehmann-Tolkmitt, We would like to take this opportunity to thank you very much once again on behalf of the entire family. Your skillful, sensitive and extremely trustful advice and support in the preparation of our family constitution impressed us. Your sympathetic approach to treating all family members on an equal footing contributed decisively toward creating a solid foundation for a shared understanding of the future of our family business.” (Strauss Family, engelbert strauss)
“Both moderators are distinguished by a high level of professionalism and outstanding expertise. We gleaned many very valuable hints for use in shaping the succession process and the cohesion of business-owning families.” (Friedrich Hofmann, Wittmann & Hofmann AG)
“The tremendous work of Peter May has greatly helped us install a business and family constitution that has the equal support of all parties. Our entire family is very grateful for this.” (Ernst Freiberger, Freiberger Group)
“Karin Ebel has a tremendous sense for people and their sensitivities and at the same time a keen mind and the skills to pierce through complex topics and arrive at constructive suggestions and solutions. She hears the nuances and empathizes with everyone at the table, but she can then summarize things in a way that helps participants arrive at tangible results.” (Dr. Florian Langenscheidt)
“With a project as comprehensive as a ‘family constitution’, in my experience one needs the experience of personalities! We had tremendous help and excellent advice in Dr. Lehmann-Tolkmitt.” (Wiestaw Kramski, KRAMSKI GmbH)
“In addition to the high professionalism of your consulting services, what distinguishes you is a special understanding of the complexities of family businesses. In my meetings with you, I could sense that you, too, are a carrier of the business gene.” (Bernhard Simon, Dachser)
“Working with Ms. Ebel not only put us on the right path as a family but was a great deal of fun as well. All of the things that are important in this regard, such as expertise, empathy or emotional intelligence, are perfectly joined here. Our family constitution is currently going to press, and every time we pick it up, we look back fondly on our work with you.” (Fritz Peters, Gebrüder Peters)
“We are grateful for the many years of good cooperation.” (Karl-Erivan Haub, Tengelmann)
“Mr. Lehmann-Tolkmitt brings the tact it takes to recognize the needs of every single family member and develops needs-based strategies that can be implemented with the corresponding sustainability.” (Matthias Unger, Unger Steel Group)
“The discussions coordinated by Mr. Lehmann-Tolkmitt were very helpful. We answered important questions, optimized structures and developed a mission statement for the shareholders.” (Ritter Family, Ritter Sport)