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Sonny Iqbal

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+91 124 46 38 000

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Sonny Iqbal helped found Egon Zehnder’s offices in New Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai. He co-leads the Firm’s global Family Business Advisory Practice and advises businesses on succession, founder transition, governance, and family charter development across markets. Sonny is a Fellow of the Institute of Coaching, McLean an affiliate of the Harvard Medical School and actively coaches senior professionals. As a generalist, he remains active in Egon Zehnder’s Health, Consumer, Board and Leadership Advisory practices.

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 with work published in journals internationally, including the Harvard Business Review. Sonny is a board member at Breakthrough India, an organization that inspires support for the rights of women and challenges deep-rooted cultural norms perpetuating gender based discrimination.

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Thought Leadership

Thought Leadership by Sonny Iqbal

Avoiding CEO Succession Planning Pitfalls

Avoiding CEO Succession Planning Pitfalls

Family company Boards must create and maintain strong succession plans that consider both internal and external talent, as well as development plans for potential… Read more

Balancing Personal and Professional Relationships in Family Businesses

Balancing Personal and Professional Relationships in Family Businesses

Managing family relationships at work is one of the thorniest issues in family-owned businesses, particularly when relationships cross generations (e.g., parent-child or uncle/aunt-nephew/niece). Many… Read more

Pharma’s High-Stakes Leadership in Times of COVID-19

Pharma’s High-Stakes Leadership in Times of COVID-19

The pharma and healthcare sector faces a serious threat of operational challenges due to COVID-19. Operations leaders gather to discuss how to move forward. Read more

Working Through the Covid-19 Impact

Working Through the Covid-19 Impact

Vaidheesh Annaswamy, President at OPPI, shares advice and insights to leaders navigating the Coronavirus outbreak. Read more

Harvard Business Review – Managing the Trickiest Parts of a Family Business

Harvard Business Review – Managing the Trickiest Parts of a Family Business

Unlike their public-company counterparts, which focus mainly on increasing shareholder value, family-business boards must act on behalf of stakeholders with multiple and potentially conflicting… Read more

Chief Executive – How To Build And Maintain Trust In The Age Of Volatility

Chief Executive – How To Build And Maintain Trust In The Age Of Volatility

How leaders need to model behaviors to build and maintain trust within organizations. Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

Family Gravity

Family Gravity

One of the fundamental challenges of any family business is maintaining the balance between “family” and “business.” Within the owning family, there will be… Read more

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… Read more

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.… Read more

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… Read more

“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… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

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. Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

"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… Read more

“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… Read more

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