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Sonny Iqbal helped found Egon Zehnder’s offices in New Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai. As a generalist, he is active in Egon Zehnder’s Health, Consumer, Board, and Executive Assessment and Development practices. He is also coleader of the global Family Business Advisory Practice and advises businesses on succession, founder transition, governance, and family charter development across multiple continents and markets. He also conducts portfolio, CEO, and board searches for private equity firms. Sonny began his career at Egon Zehnder’s London office in 1998.

I strive to find white spaces and build Egon Zehnder’s presence around the world by being authentic and delivering on the trust and confidence clients place in our firm.

Prior to joining Egon Zehnder, Sonny acquired expertise in operations and marketing at the Oberoi Group in the U.K., India, and Middle East. He also managed the financial and travel services business of American Express in India.

Sonny earned a BA with honors from St. Stephen’s College at Delhi University, an MBA from the University of Surrey, in the U.K., and a Postgraduate Diploma in Hospitality from the Oberoi Centre for Learning and Development in Delhi. He frequently speaks and writes on topics related to family businesses and dynamics within owner families. Outside of work, he enjoys regular exercise and is an avid golfer. Sonny is actively involved in Social Venture Partners India, a philanthropic network that brings together donors, nonprofits, and social enterprises to invest in collaborative solutions to tackle social challenges in India.

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Content by Sonny Iqbal

Family Gravity Study

Family Gravity Study

At Egon Zehnder, we have worked with family businesses around the world since our founding in 1964. We interviewed scores of family executives to better understand their sources of success—as well as their pain points.

When the Board and Management Collide

When the Board and Management Collide

It is a truism of corporate governance that a strong, highly functioning board can be an invaluable asset to management, going beyond oversight to provide guidance and strategic counsel to the CEO and his or her team. But these benefits can only be realized if the board and management have the trust and transparency that allows for candid, constructive conversation.

It Takes Discipline—and Behavior Change—To Build a Successful Board

It Takes Discipline—and Behavior Change—To Build a Successful Board

In our role as leadership advisors, we are often asked to conduct board effectiveness reviews. These comprehensive studies help boards improve their performance by recommending specific changes that impact board dynamics, process improvements and governance.

Livemint – Most Family Businesses Could Improve Upon Succession Planning

Livemint – Most Family Businesses Could Improve Upon Succession Planning

“Good governance is key to long-term success, especially in family-owned business, where stakeholder relationships are often complex,” says Sonny Iqbal, co-leader of Egon Zehnder’s Global Family Business Advisory.

“Good governance is key to long-term success, especially in family-owned business, where stakeholder relationships are often complex,” says Sonny Iqbal, co-leader of Egon Zehnder’s Global Family Business Advisory.

The Hindu Business Line – What Does It Take for Family Businesses to Last Generations?

The Hindu Business Line – What Does It Take for Family Businesses to Last Generations?

Did you know that the majority (80 percent) of corporations around the world are family-owned? Yet only three percent continue operating beyond the fourth generation.

Family Gravity

Family Gravity

The Force That Balances “Family” and “Business”

One of the fundamental challenges of any family business is maintaining the balance between “family” and “business.” Within the owning family, there will be the same complex, interpersonal dynamics and conflicting aspirations and priorities that occur in any other family.

Emerging Markets Business – A Family Affair

Emerging Markets Business – A Family Affair

In Emerging Markets Business, Egon Zehnder’s Sonny Iqbal and Richard Stark offered their perspective on one family business, Paraíso Verde, which was founded in Chile in 1911 and later fell into crisis following the loss of the founders.

Family Businesses - Relationships at Work

Family Businesses - Relationships at Work

Managing family relationships at work is one of the thorniest issues in family-owned businesses, particularly when relationships cross generations, such as parent-child or uncle/aunt-nephew/niece. Many family members are committed to professionalism and strive to separate “work” and “family” in their dealings with each other.

The Neglected Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback

The Neglected Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback

The ability to give and receive feedback is a fundamental leadership skill. Feedback improves outcomes and results, motivates performance, brings groups together, clarifies goals and objectives, clears outstanding issues and inspires development.

“Family Gravity” and Structured CEO Succession Key Drivers to Long-Term Success of Family Businesses

“Family Gravity” and Structured CEO Succession Key Drivers to Long-Term Success of Family Businesses

In a recent study, Egon Zehnder and Family Business Network International interviewed executives at 50 of the world’s top family firms - mostly in the third or fourth generation - to discover how they unlock great leadership.

Adding Independent Directors to the Board of a Family Business

Adding Independent Directors to the Board of a Family Business

As family businesses evolve from small enterprises to large, complex operations, many of them intuitively understand that they must add non-family members to the management team along the way.

The Overlooked Document That Every Family Business Must Have

The Overlooked Document That Every Family Business Must Have

Perpetuity is a central objective of every family business. In today’s ever-changing world, it is critical for owner families to proactively mitigate risks to achieve that longevity.

Family Businesses are Facing a Skeptical Next Generation

Family Businesses are Facing a Skeptical Next Generation

Whenever a family business looks to its next generation on matters of succession, it can encounter four types of responses. The next generation family member could be eager and ready.

livemint – Family-led Firms Face Challenge of Integrating Outsiders

livemint – Family-led Firms Face Challenge of Integrating Outsiders

Family-led firms are resilient, long-lasting and offer some of the finest examples of corporate leadership in the world, reports livemint.

Leadership Succession — Best Practices from the World’s Leading Family Businesses

Leadership Succession — Best Practices from the World’s Leading Family Businesses

Leadership succession is one of the most critical and daunting tasks a family business can face. Unfortunately, there are few resources that set forth in a concise way established best practices and then provide practical guidance on their implementation.

How Chairmen Enhance Board Effectiveness

How Chairmen Enhance Board Effectiveness

For independent board chairmen of global companies, challenges continue to grow while room for error continues to shrink. Shareholders demand more rapid returns. Increasing regulation around the world demands exemplary corporate governance and rigorous compliance. Controversy about executive compensation has taken on new life in the context of rising income inequality.

Asian Family Businesses: Time to Face Up to Succession

Asian Family Businesses: Time to Face Up to Succession

Family businesses account for over 50 percent of large corporations in the Asia-Pacific region and many will soon be facing leadership successions for the first time. Managing these transitions effectively constitutes a major challenge, write Sonny Iqbal and Jörg Ritter, co-leaders of Egon Zehnder’s global family-business advisory, and Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a senior adviser at Egon Zehnder, in a blog entry for the Harvard Business Review.

"Family Gravity" and Structured CEO Succession Discovered as Key Success Indicators for Long-Term Survival of Family Businesses, According to Egon Zehnder Research

Family-owned and -controlled businesses represent 80 percent of companies worldwide, but by not retaining their corporate ethos or “family gravity,” or following a disciplined CEO succession process, many underperform or fail to survive according to new joint research from global executive search firm Egon Zehnder and Family Business Network International.

“Family Gravity” and Structured CEO Succession Key Drivers to Long-Term Success of Family Businesses

“Family Gravity” and Structured CEO Succession Key Drivers to Long-Term Success of Family Businesses

"Family gravity" and structured CEO succession are crucial to the long-term success of top family firms, write Claudio Fernandez-Araoz, Joerg Ritter and Sonny Iqbal in an article for the April 2015 issue of the Harvard Business Review. The article entitled “Leadership Lessons From Great Family Businesses”, spotlights global research based on interviews with 50 family-owned firms conducted by Egon Zehnder and Family Business Network International that reveals how family firms unlock value over the long term.

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