The Governance of Foundation-Owned Firms

Henry Hansmann, Steen Thomsen

Research output: Other contributionNet publication - Internet publicationCommunication


A number of highly successful companies around the world are owned by foundations. Examples include world-class companies such as Bertelsmann, Heineken, Ikea, Robert Bosch, Rolex, the Tata Group, and Carlsberg. The so-called “industrial foundations” that own them are nonprofit institutions which typically combine business ownership and philanthropy, but give priority to the business goal. Contrary to the predictions of agency theory, foundation-owned companies are, on average roughly as profitable as investor- or family-owned companies. But how is it done?
Original languageEnglish
Publication date1 Mar 2018
Place of PublicationCambridge, MA
PublisherHarvard Law School
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018

Cite this