Polaris Committee

About the Polaris Committee Comprising FBN members, executives and impact professionals, the Polaris Committee spans cultures, geographies, industries and generations:

Polaris Forum in Milan

Andrew Wates

Chair - Polaris Committee

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Andrew Wates was formerly Chairman of Wates Family Holdings, the ownership forum that oversees all Wates family interests, but still remains an owner/shareholder. Until April 2006, he was Chairman of Wates Group Limited, having originally joined the company in 1964.

Role within FBN-I

  • Chair of the Polaris Advisory Committee
  • Chair of the FBN Ambassadors’ Circle
  • Former President of FBN UK (IFB)
  • Former Vice President of the Board of Directors
     

Key Topics of expertise

  • The role of Family Business in the Economy
  • The role of Family Business as a force for change
  • My family succession process and planning
  • Working with Non-Family CEO

Albert Jan Thomassen

Executive Director of FBNed

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Albert Jan Thomassen is the Executive Director of FBNed (FBN Netherlands) and a resource to enterprising families on governance and succession issues. Since 1986 Albert Jan is active in the field of family business, starting out as a family business researcher and teacher. He has become an internationally recognised family business expert, speaker and author.

Role within FBN-I :

  • Member of the Polaris Committee
  • Executive Director of FBNed (FBN Netherlands)
  • Former chair of multiple Global Summit Programme Committees
  • Former member of the FBN Executive Committee
  • Former chair of the Board Nomination Committee
  • Co-founder and founding President of FBN-I

Key topics of expertise :

  • Family Business Governance
  • Family Succession
  • Advocacy for family businesses
  • Family Constitutions

Alfonso Libano

COBEGA, S.A, Spain

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Alfonso comes from a family with a long history in the Family Business since the 19th Century. He is CEO of COBEGA, S.A and holds a number of company directorships within the Coca-Cola system, such as Director of the Board & Chairman of the CSR Committee of Coca-Cola European Partners (the largest European Coca-Cola franchise), Chairman of Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company, S.L.,(Coca-Cola franchise for 13 African Countries), and Director of The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Egypt. He has also been Trustee of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation since 2004. In addition, he is a member of the boards of various public organisations including the AMCHAM (American Chamber of Commerce in Spain) and the MACBA Foundation (Contemporary Art Museum of Barcelona).
Alfonso has been involved in the Instituto de la Empresa Familiar (IEF Spain) since 1991 as a Founding Member and Secretary of the Board of Directors, and currently as Member of the International Commission. Since 2007, he was also Vice-Chairman of the European Family Business (EFB), until his appointment as Chairman in 2015.

Role within FBN-I

  • Chairman of the Nomination Committee
  • Member of the FBN-I Foundation
  • Former member of the Board and Treasurer of The Family Business Network International.

Key Topics of expertise :

  • The Family Business Network a unique organization across generations
  • The role of Family Business as a force for change
  • Working with non-family CEO

Andrew Bryson

Co-creator Polaris, FBN-I

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As a member of Family Business Network’s Polaris Committee since its inception in 2014, Andrew works to support family businesses in amplifying their economic, environmental and societal impacts.  Andrew has a long history of working to create positive change in both the for-profit and nonprofit spheres.

As a sustainability and social impact strategist, he has worked across the globe with clients ranging from social enterprises to the Fortune 100 - including Walmart, AT&T, T. Rowe Price, Coca-Cola, Juma Ventures, and Air New Zealand. He also spent a number of years as the Executive Director of the Beastie Boys' nonprofit The Milarepa Fund, where he led the innovation of various strategies focused on activating youth globally.

Brigitta Deák

Biofilter Environmental Co, G2, Hungary

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2nd Generation, Biofilter Environmental Co, Hungary

Caroline Lubbers

Hotel Theater Figi, G3, Nederlands

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Caroline Lubbers is currently board member of Hotel Theater Figi, as a third-generation family member and shareholder. As co-founder of her company Equipoise she is specialised the cocoa & chocolate value chain contributing to a fair market outcome for all stakeholders. Her activities especially focus on quality development, women leadership and business as a force for good.

Role within FBN-I

  • Member of the Polaris Committee
  • Member of the FBN NL Women Leaders Circle
  • Member of the FBN NL SDG Learning Circle
  • Former member of NXG committee of FBN NL (FBN)

Key Topics of expertise

  • The role of (Family) Business as a force for change
  • My family succession process and planning
  • Board member of the family business

Caroline Seow

Sustainability Lead, FBN-I

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Like her fellow Polaris Committee members, Caroline is a passionate change agent for ‘Business as a Force for Good’. Together, the team develops frameworks, content and platforms to enable family businesses to deliver inclusive growth and better measure, manage and improve their impacts. 

Role within FBN

  • Head of Sustainability, FBN 
  • Co-creator Polaris with a group of FBN members 
  • Former Executive Director, FBN Asia
  • Former member FBN Executive Committee
  • Program Committee Member, FBN Global Summits

Key areas of expertise

  • Family Business as a Force for Good
  • Aligning Purpose with Profit
  • The Business Case for Sustainability / Impact
  • Why Business needs the UN Sustainable Development Goals – The $12 trillion opportunity 
  • The B Corp Movement  
     

Clara Villoslada

Hevimar holding , G2, Spain

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2nd Generation, Hevimar holding , Spain

Dirk Vyncke

Vyncke, G3, Belgium, Pater Familias

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Dirk VYNCKE

Member Association: Belgium
Company: Vyncke
 

Farhad Forbes

Forbes Marshall, India – G2, FBN Chairman

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Farhad Forbes represents the 2nd Generation of Forbes Marshall, responsible for the Industrial Process Automation and Control Group of the Company. He has been in the company since 1982. Forbes Marshall is one of India’s leading companies in the fields of Steam Engineering, Energy Conservation, Utilities Management, and Industrial Process Automation and Control. It employs over 1100 people and has Joint Ventures and alliances in Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Japan.

Fred R. Sasser

Sasser Family Holdings, USA – G3

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Fred R. Sasser is a third generation Sasser Family member.  Fred entered the business in 1973, eventually leading the business as CEO for 36 years, transitioning this position to a non-family CEO in 2016.  In 2019, Fred handed the Chair of the Board position to the company’s first non-family Chair, while still remaining a stockholder and Chair Emeritus.

Role within FBN:

  • FBN-I Board of Directors
  • Member of FBN-I Polaris Steering Committee
  • Chair of FBN-USA Chapter
  • FBN-USA Board of Directors

Key Topics of Experience

  • Role of family business in the economy
  • Succession within family enterprises
  • Governance of family enterprises
  • Introduction of independent directors
  • Transition to initial non-family CEO

Günseli Ünlütürk

Sun Tekstil, Turkey, G1

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Günseli Ünlütürk is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sun Tekstil's retail brand Jimmy Key; she is also serving on the Board of Directors of Sun Textile and Ekoten at Sun Group. As one of the founders of Sun Textile and Ekoten; she has served in different positions in the family business and played an active role in Sun Tekstil's growth journey since establishment in 1987.

Role within FBN-I

  • SUN TEKSTIL, TURKEY, G1
  • Founder members of TAIDER Family Business Association, member association of FBN-I. 
  • Board member of TAIDER for 2017-2019 period and leader of Sustainability and Social Responsibility Committee.

Izel Levi Coşkun

Corporate Sustainability PhD

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Dr. Izel Levi Coskun, born in 1973, graduated from Istanbul University, Business Administration and studied MBA at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. Dr. Coskun lectured entrepreneurship classes in Marmara University between 2004 and 2014. He obtained his PhD with his thesis on “Corporate Sustainability” at Marmara University. His professional life started in 1991 and he gained experience in accounting, audit, tax, consultancy and internal audit. Since 2010, he is the Managing Partner of Mazars Turkey, which is among the 5 largest accounting, audit, tax and consulting firms in Turkey. Dr. Coskun owns Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Capital Markets Board and Public Oversight Accounting and Auditing Standards Authority licenses. (108 kelime)

Dr. Izel Levi Coskun harmonized his experience in various sectors with two core values “Sustainability” and “Entrepreneurship”. At the same time, he keeps writing articles about “Sustainability” and “Entrepreneurship” for Harvard Business Review blog and other foremost business mags in Turkey.

Dr. Izel Levi Coskun is a member of Turkish Industry & Business Association (TUSIAD) and at the same time Head of the Steering Committee for TÜSİAD’s entrepreneurship project “These Young People Have the Potential, Union of Chambers of Certified Public Accountants of Turkey, Turkish Internal Auditors’ Association, Turkish Association of Accounting Experts, Endeavor, Keiretsu Forum, Buğday Association for Supporting Ecological Living, Gökçeada Volunteers Association, TAİDER Family Business Association, Turkish Marine Environment Protection Association, Ada Dostları Association and Transparency International Turkey.

Jennifer Muntz

FBN - North America, Executive Director

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Jennifer Muntz is the Executive Director at Family Business Network - North America and the Founder of FamilyCLO.

She began her career in the non-profit world helping re-unify families after abuse or neglectful situations and teaching people with mental illness job skills and socialization skills. Her career transitioned into the world of managing corporate training and organizational development. Jennifer’s enthusiasm and passion for teaching and developing individuals, families, teams and organizations is demonstrated by 15 years of experience working in the field across different industries.

While at Family Office Exchange (FOX) she developed and facilitated virtual and in-person education programs, authored the “FOX Guide to Family Education”, co-led the NextGen Network and consulted with families and family offices on education and training.

Jennifer is the Principal and Founder of FamilyCLO, a private firm that provides education and training programs and services to enterprising families, family offices and other education providers in the family business, family office arena.

She holds a B.S. in Psychology, an MBA and has been an active member of the Association of Training and Development (ASTD) since 2007.

Jonny Wates

Wates Family Enterprise

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Jonny Wates MSt, MBA

Director

Jonny was appointed to the Wates Group Board in 2008, having previously served as Group Head of Strategy and Sales Director of Wates Homes Ltd. He is a Trustee of the Wates Family Enterprise Trust and the William Wates Memorial Trust. He chairs the Board Sustainability Committee and champions sustainability at a strategic and an operational level.

Previously, Jonny was Founder and Chairman of the renewable energy start up Myriad Cleaner Energy Generation, and he began his career as brand manager at International Distillers & Vintners (now Diageo).

Outside of the company, Jonny holds a range of positions including: an Advisory Board Member for the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations; a member of the Advisory Council of Commonland; a Trustee of Forum for the Future; and an Associate at Leaders’ Quest.

He has an MBA from the Cranfield University School of Management and a Master’s Degree in Sustainability and Leadership from the University of Cambridge.

He is passionate about encouraging biodiversity in the city as a way to raise awareness of climate change, promote community cohesion and create a harmonious relationship between humanity and nature.

Lucia Arteta

Executive Director of FBN Ecuador

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Ecuadorian, 1969, married, 3 children. Third generation member of an industrial and commercial group dedicated to wood veneer products.

Since 2013 Lucia is Executive Director of FBN Ecuador. At the moment she is also member of the Board of Directors of EDIMCA (commercial company of her family business), President of the Board of the American School of Quito, President of the Board of Medford S.A. a small company dedicated to summer camp operations.

Past work experience includes: Aglomerados Cotopaxi (industrial family business), Member of the Board of Directors. Banco Aserval, Private Banking and Corporate Finance Director, 1997 –1998, Member of the Board of Directors 1998-1999. Citibank Ecuador, Manager of Corporate Credit, 1990 –1997

Education: Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA. Bachelor of Arts in Engineering and Economics. Fluent in Spanish and English.

Mehrad Jaberansari

Sepahan Industrial Group, G3, Iran

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Mehrad is a 3rd Generation member of an enterprising family from Iran. 
As a former Project Manager, with a background in Business Development and Airline Strategy Consulting, he recently completed his MBA to foster an entrepreneurial mindset and explore the synergies between financial gain and social impact for a more sustainable future.
 
Role within FBN-I:

  • Member of Internaitonal NxG Leadership Team
  • Chair of the NxG Entrepreneurship Day Program Committee

 
Key Topics of interest:

  • Social entrepreneurship
  • The role of enterprising families as a force for change
  • International business development

Robin Pho

Right People Group of companies, G2

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CEO, Right People Renewable Energy

Chairman, Right People Group of Companies.

Robin Pho is the oldest of 3 children and from the 2nd generation of the Right People Group of companies. The original family business specialised in providing manpower services to the energy industry in Indonesia. Today, the business has pivoted to help commercial and industrial clients switch from fossil fuel energy to clean renewable energy. He is the founder and CEO of Right People Renewable Energy, which is also a registered social enterprise in Singapore. Robin leads the business to focus on the triple bottom line of People, Planet, Profit. They are in the process of being B Corp certified.

Roles in FBN Asia 

  • 2017 Polaris Peer Group Facilitator - Polaris Training with Al Gore 2019 
  • FBN Compass Group Moderator 2019 Chairman
  • Family Business as a Force for Good Interest Group

Risto Vayrynen

Sifter Group & LeipomoVayrynen

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Risto is the Managing Director of Sifter Group, a Geneva based Investment Fund and founder of Leipomo Väyrynen, a Bakery business located in Helsinki.

Role within FBN-I

  • Member of Next Gen Committee (FIN)
  • Former Vice-President of Next Gen Committee
  • Former member of the Executive Committee

Key Topics of expertise

  • The Family Business Network a unique organization across generations
  • His role as FBN Member
  • The role of Family Business in the economy
  • The role of Family Business as a force for change
  • His own personal story as a Family Business member, manager and/or owner
  • His family succession process and planning
  • Working with as non-family CEO

Simon Torres

Contempo, G2, Colombia

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Chairman of Board of Directors, 2nd Generation, Contempo, Colombia

Simone Møkster

Simon Møkster Holding AS, G2, Norway

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Simone Møkster is 2nd generation owner of Simon Møkster Holding AS, a Norwegian ship owner and ship manager supporting the offshore energy industry. After a career within management consulting, business process management and corporate governance systems, Simone became the Managing Director of Family Business Norway in 2017. Simone holds various board positions within her enterprising family.

Role within FBN:

  • One of the founders of Family Business Norway in 2015
  • Board member of Family Business Norway 2015-2017
  • Managing Director of Family Business Norway since 2017
  • Polaris champion

Key topics of expertise: 

  • Corporate and family governance
  • Multi-generational collaboration
  • Involvement of next gen

Sophie Lammerant Velge

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After an international career in the private banking and pharma industry, Sophie Velge (MBA INSEAD) is Director of the Board of the Bekaert SAK (Family Council) and actively involved in the 5th generation’s ownership education programme «Bekaert Academy». Since 2011, she is Director of the Board of Sipef, an agro-industrial company listed on Euronext Brussels which holds majority stakes in tropical businesses, mainly palm oil. Sophie sits in various other Boards or Committees in the education, cultural and philanthropic fields.

Role within FBN-I

  • Co-founder of FBNet Belgium in 2005, Executive Director of FBN Belgium since 2012
  • Member of the Board of Directors of FBN-I (from 2008-2014)
  • Member of the FBN-I Nomination Committee since 2013

Key Topics of expertise

  • The Family Business Network a unique organization across generations
  • Her role as FBN Member
  • The role of Family Business in the economy and as a force for change
  • Her own personal story as a Family Business member, manager and/or owner

Sumer Tömek Bayindir

TETA Teknik Tarim, Turkiye

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MBA, Business Administration

  • General Manager of TETA Teknik Tarim which provides holistic solutions in the field of professional farming and agricultural technologies. 
  • Founding partner of LAKTO Dairy Technologies; Member of the Board of Directors of NARAS Machinery AS. 
  • Founding partner of two start-ups working mainly on agricultural and sustainability technologies.

NGO activities

  • Founding and current President of Agriculture 4.0 Technology and Impact Association
  • 2015-2017 President of the board of TAIDER Family Businesses Association (FBN Member Association), one of the founding members in 2012
  • 2001 President of JCI Young Leaders and Entrepreneurs Jaycees Association as Izmir, 2002-2003-2004 JCI Turkiye National Boards member, Senator of JCI Senate
  • Member of the Board of Kursun Kalem Education Foundation, Aegean Economic Development Foundation (EGEV), Aegean Industrialists 'and Businesspeople's Association (ESIAD),  Izmir Metropolitan Development Coordination Board of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality'. Founder of IIDE Izmir Thought Group and Izmir Agriculture Group. 

Role within FBN

  • Member of the Polaris Committee
  • 2015-2017 President of TAIDER, Turkiye, Member Association of FBN
  • Member of TAIDER Sustainability and Social Responsibility and TAIDER ACADEMY Committees

Key Topics

  • Family Business in the Economy
  • Sustainability of Family Businesses
  • Sustainability in Agriculture and Food
  • Dairy Farming and Agricultural Technologies
     

Sumitra Aswani

​​​​​​​Executive Director, Ishk Tolaram Foundation

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Sumitra is a fourth-generation family member of Tolaram Group and currently heads the affiliated Ishk Tolaram Foundation. The Foundation develops and supports programs related to education, entrepreneurial and vocational training, and healthcare in vulnerable communities within Indonesia, Nigeria and Singapore; and advocates social awareness and responsible giving in our partners, business and family.

Sumitra is also actively involved with next-generation engagement through the Family Business Network, Business Families Foundation, Young Business Leaders Network, and as the Singapore co-director for NEXUS Global. Prior to this, Sumitra practiced clinical medicine and healthcare policy with an interest in family and community medicine in Singapore. She graduated with an M.B.B.S from the National University of Singapore and is currently completing a Master of Studies in Sustainability Leadership at the University of Cambridge.

Winson Yeung

Singbee Technology, G2, China

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Winson Yeung is the Vice President of Singbee Technology, a company involved in manufacturing, distribution & innovation of LED lighting and lighting related controls. Singbee is the second B corp certificated company in China.
 
Role within FBN

  • Polaris Committee
  • Nxg leadership team
  • Broad member of FBN Asia
  • Founding member of FBN Asia/China (China is Asia Sub-chapter)

 
Key Topics of expertise

  • Transformation from traditional business to sustainability business
  • China business environment & Chinese mentality
  • Energy reduction investment
  • Nxg leader in a business changing world