“We love family businesses –
working with their owners is our calling and our profession.”
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.”
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)
What our clients say
Dr. Patrick Adenauer, BAUWENS GmbH & Co. KG
“Peter May combines comprehensive experience and expertise with the necessary keen sense for the tailor-made solution. Over a longer period of time, you embark upon a journey together, a journey that you enjoy taking and that leads you to mutual success.”
Dr. Matthias Beggerow, Bitburger Holding
“In 2012, together with Prof. Dr. May as consultant and representatives of the Simon family business, we developed an owner strategy for the first time. In this way, we created the structure for family governance. Clarity was created with regard to the self-image and expectations of the owner family. During this process, we identified a large number of implementation measures, which have all been put into action in the meantime. The abolition of the tribal principle and the introduction of a professional application and selection process for the supervisory bodies are just two of several outstanding topics. The development of shareholder competence emerged as one of the central points for the present and the future. With the new structure, the Simon family business has become an even more reliable partner for operational business management.”
Kerstin Schönherr, BMV Mineralöl Versorgungsgesellschaft
“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.”
Bernhard Simon, Dachser
“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.”
Strauss Family, engelbert strauss
“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.”
Ernst Freiberger, Freiberger Group
“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.”
Prof. Dr. Friedhelm Loh, Friedhelm Loh Group
“In particular situations in life, families require confidential, excellent and individual consulting. This is what we were looking for and what we found in Professor May and his team – and not only that but good, future-oriented solutions.”
Hans-Ewald Reinert, H. & E. Reinert Westfalian Private Butchery
“For me, Peter May has been a competent and professional consultant for years - from both a professional and private perspective. He always acts in an analytical and prudent manner. His special gift for connecting with people makes working with him a very pleasant experience. I appreciate his sensitive nature and I am proud to count Peter May among my friends.”
Wiestaw Kramski, KRAMSKI GmbH
“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.”
Dr. Florian Langenscheidt
“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.”
Fritz Peters, Gebrüder Peters
“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.”
Ritter Family, Ritter Sport
“The discussions coordinated by Mr. Lehmann-Tolkmitt were very helpful. We answered important questions, optimized structures and developed a mission statement for the shareholders.”
Dr. Lis Hannemann-Strenger, Strenger 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.”
Karl-Erivan Haub, Tengelmann
“We are grateful for the many years of good cooperation.”
Dr.-Ing. Michael Schürenkrämer and Heinrich Trützschler, Trützschler GmbH & Co. KG
“From the very first workshop, all shareholders of the fourth and fifth generations felt that Prof. May and Dr. Ebel had fully integrated then on the way to coping with our future generation change. This was successfully concluded after two and a half years with a new partnership agreement supported by all parties involved. The very well-structured analysis and goal management process created new insights for all shareholders and led to a broader understanding of the necessary changes as well as of the perspective of the other shareholders. We are very grateful to Prof. May and Dr. Ebel that we were able to shape our future in harmony and consensus.”
Matthias Unger, Unger Steel Group
“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.”
Prof. Dr. Martin Viessmann, Viessmann Werke
“Under the moderation of Peter May, we not only created a family manifesto and documented our common values, goals and governance rules, but also defined the step-by-step plan for the transition to the fourth generation. Peter May and FBC helped us a lot in setting the course for success in the second century of our family business.”
Friedrich Hofmann, Wittmann & Hofmann AG
“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.”
Volkmar Wywiol, Stern-Wywiol Group
“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.”
b. 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 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. 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 President of the Governance Commission, Jury Chairman of the Family Business Owner of the Year and Managing Director of FBN Deutschland.
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 [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. 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 passion and my contribution to our business families.”
b. 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.
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. 1967 | married, 2 children | Business Economist
Matthias Händle comes from an entrepreneurial family that was at home in many industries: the automotive trade, mechanical engineering and IT. After completing dual studies in Business Administration, he completed his Master of Science and received his PhD from the University of Bradford.
Matthias Händle remained loyal to the trade by joining Wilh. Hamm in Osnabrück, a company owned by his parents-in-law. There, he initially held various management positions before being appointed Managing Partner and CEO of the HR Group in the course of the merger between Hamm and Reno in 2005. Even after the sale of the company in 2016, Matthias Händle continues to work in the presidencies of German and European trade associations and is a member of the Foreign Trade Advisory Board of the Federal Ministry of Economics.
Thanks to his entrepreneurial and personal experience, Matthias Händle’s focal areas of work are in actively supporting the implementation of the ownership strategy as a personal advisor to entrepreneurs and shareholders. He also assumes responsibility as an active advisor or interim CEO.
His guiding principle is: “Put the interests of the company before the interests of the shareholders! I am convinced that this is the only way to achieve the economic goals of the shareholders in the end. However, from my personal experience I am very aware that emotional issues in particular often play a very important role.”
b. 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."
b. 1962 | 3 children | University lecturer
Sabine Rau is one of the internationally leading female scientists in the field of family businesses and has been advising family businesses for many years. In her combination of consulting and scientific work, she has developed important tools to precisely grasp the situation of the family business and to arrive quickly and efficiently at a solution that can be implemented by all parties involved.
After studying business administration and organizational psychology, Sabine Rau worked at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, the EBS European Business School in Oestrich-Winkel, the WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar and at King’s College in London. She is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Ottawa, Canada, and at ESMT (European School of Management and Technology) in Berlin. As founding director at ESMT, she helped establish the world's first institute for hidden champions.
Sabine Rau joined John Ward's Family Business Consulting Group in 2001. She has been a partner at PETER MAY Family Business Consulting since 2017.
Her focal areas of work are in national and international ownership strategy and succession mandates. With great passion she also supports NextGens in developing their place in the family business and the entrepreneurial family.
Her guiding principle is: “As a society, we need family entrepreneurs who take responsibility for their economic actions. It is my pleasure and honor to support and accompany these entrepreneurs and those who grow into such a position to the best of my knowledge and belief.”
b. 1957 | married, 2 children | Lawyer, tax consultant, mediator
Dieter Jeschke is a proven expert in the field of family businesses through his many years of experience both as a consultant and sparring partner to owner families and via his own entrepreneurial activity. The focus of his work lies in the avoidance and moderation of shareholder conflicts through mediation. In addition, he supports the introduction and improvement of governance structures and accompanies owner families in succession processes as well as in implementation of owner strategies. For several decades he has also been active as a supervisory board and advisory board member in family businesses and therefor he has an in-depth knowledge of governance structures of companies from various perspectives.
After studying law and economics, Dieter Jeschke went on to complete master’s degrees in International Taxation, Business Law and Mediation. He began his professional practice in a law firm in Stuttgart, there he was soon made partner. During this time, he specialised in advising family businesses with a focus on succession and family governance. After many years working as a lawyer, he became the sole director of a listed company, which he successfully restructured. He worked there for two 5-year-terms before returning to consulting. Dieter Jeschke is now a partner at PETER MAY Family Business Consulting and Ebel Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft.
In addition to the seven 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 – within the scope of her work for Ebel Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft – 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. December 29, 1967 | married, 3 children | Psychologist
After training as a banker and studying psychology, Ursula Merckle worked for many years in her own practice and as a lecturer. As a member of an entrepreneurial family, she is familiar with the dynamics in such from her own experience − not least through the owner strategy process in her own family. This perspective makes Ursula Merckle a valuable addition to the legal and business approach.
Ursula Merckle's focal areas of work are in accompanying owner strategy and succession processes as well as in individual coaching.
Her guiding principle is: “I am fascinated by the close involvement of factual and emotional topics in a family business. Working out future-oriented and solution-oriented strategies together is an exciting challenge for me.”
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.