May 5, 2021

Drucker School Global Family Business Institute’s New Director Aims to ‘Preserve Families and Perpetuate Businesses’

AT THE HELM: The Drucker School Global Family Business Institute welcomes David Specht as its new director.

The Drucker School of Management recently announced the selection of David Specht as the next director of the Drucker School Global Family Business Institute.

Specht joins the Drucker School community after serving for nearly five years in developing the National Family Dynamics Program at Wells Fargo Private Bank. He begins effective today, May 5.

In an announcement to the school community, Drucker Interim Dean Katharina Pick shared her excitement about having the institute “led by someone with both experience in family enterprise and a deep passion for helping family businesses thrive.”

A Shared Vision of the Family Business Community

When the Drucker School Global Family Business Institute launched in the spring of 2018, it set out to address a gap that Peter Drucker had identified in the education available for those leading family-run organizations. Since then, the institute has provided programming and guidance to help families navigate key challenges, including managing the family name, succession planning, innovation, corporate responsibility, governance, finance, and sustainability.

The institute has gained significant momentum over the last three years, tapping into Drucker’s key management principles and leveraging a global network of contributors to generate valuable resources like interactive educational sessions, a graduate student club, and even a podcast series about the “very different rules” that family businesses are forced to adhere to.

Peter Drucker said family businesses face unique challenges–and deserve special attention.

In her message about Specht, Pick emphasized the alignment between his values and the vision of the institute: “David’s self-described personal mission is to ‘preserve families and perpetuate businesses,’ and I believe this is deeply resonant with our Drucker values and the vision to help multi-generational family businesses overcome the unique challenges they face as they strive for continuity, business success, and positive impact.”

Specht takes over the reins of the institute from Drucker’s Associate Dean Brian Dennis, who served as interim director for the past eight months and maintained the Institute’s programming during a time of challenges posed by the global pandemic.

Despite the obstacles of 2020, Dennis oversaw the successful launch of the Institute’s first seminar series, “The Drucker Difference and Your Family Business,” last November. Sponsored by the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation, the six-part series aims to enable a global network of family businesses to learn how to leverage Peter Drucker’s key management principles.

“I greatly appreciate the continuity and quality programming Brian was able to provide to our members and partners in this challenging Covid year and time of transition,” Pick said.

The fourth installment in the seminar series (visit here to register) is scheduled for Wednesday, June 2, and will feature an in-depth discussion on succession planning in family business, a topic on which Specht has advised family companies in previous roles.

Author and entrepreneur

Prior to his role at Wells Fargo Private Bank, Specht founded Advising Generations, a consulting firm for multi-generational family companies, and served on the faculty at the University of Nebraska, where he established their family business program.

“My career ambition has always been the same; to have the biggest impact possible on business-owning families. The Global Family Business Institute at the Drucker School provides a powerful platform to do just that. I can’t wait to co-create world-class programs with my talented colleagues for some of the world’s most influential and important businesses,” said Specht.

The institute is ‘a powerful platform,’ says Specht.

Specht studied Business Administration at Brigham Young University-Idaho and holds a master’s degree in Tax and Financial Planning from San Diego State University. He is also the father of six, is fluent in Spanish, and brings both experience and interest in international work that will support the global nature of the Institute.

Specht has authored two family business-related books, The Farm Whisperer: Secrets to Preserving Families and Perpetuating Farms and, most recently, The Family Business Whisperer, in which he reflects on his consulting experiences to chart a clear path for families in succession planning.