Biography

Kellogg School of Management

Jennifer M. Pendergast Ph.D is the inaugural John L. Ward Clinical Professor of Family Enterprise and Faculty Director, Center for Family Enterprises (KCFE) at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. In this capacity, Jennifer guides the market leading executive education and MBA programs and the research agenda for KCFE (www.kcfe.net). Previously she served as the US leader of the Egon Zehnder’s Family Business Advisory.

A career consultant and educator to family businesses, Jennifer Pendergast specializes in strategic planning, family and business governance, family office structure, and facilitation. Jennifer is an experienced management consultant with an extensive background in the many strategic challenges faced by family firms serving a broad range of clients, ranging from $100m to $10+ billion in revenues and 2nd to 6th generation ownership .

With a Ph.D. in strategy, Jennifer has taught at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, Georgia Tech and The Wharton Business School. Jennifer’s presentations, consultations and publications concentrate on strategic planning and business growth, developing and managing family councils and ownership groups, structuring and improving the effectiveness of boards of directors, planning for ownership and leadership succession and creating and managing family offices. Her research on corporate governance and top management leadership issues has been published in a number of academic journals, including European Management Journal and Strategic Management Journal.

She entered the field of family business having worked as a professor, as a consultant for McKinsey & Company and as an investment banker for a Wall Street firm. She has also worked in the family office of one of the largest family entities in the U.S.

Jennifer received her Ph.D. in Management from Wharton Business School and holds a B.S. in Finance from University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce and has authored numerous books and articles, two of her standout titles are: Family Business Succession: Your Roadmap to Continuity co-authored with Kelly LeCouvie and Building a Successful Family Board, which she wrote with John Ward and Stephanie Brun de Pontet.

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