CKGSB Program on Managing Family Enterprises Wins Praise from Legendary Family
June 26, 2017

Rockefeller: ‘My family’s relationship with China has given me so much’

A member of one of the world’s most famous entrepreneurial families told alumni and current students of Cheung Kung Graduate School of Business’s Global Emerging Leaders that the meticulously-designed program offers great insight and practical preparation for managing and expanding their family businesses. 

“CKGSB is a special institution, I’m honored and humbled to speak to this crowd,” said Steven C. Rockefeller III at a special forum organized by CKGSB in New York.

He spoke to the alumni and current participants of Global Emerging Leaders (GEL), a unique program developed for people managing family-owned enterprises. It is taught by leading faculty from CKGSB and Cornell University. The one-week program offers in-depth academics analysis and practical knowledge from accomplished business people. It also allows participants to form global connections with others in family businesses and learn about trends and newest strategies to sustain and grow their business in a changing world.

“The GEL program is a very good program because it’s very relevant to today and very much needed,” Mr. Rockefeller said during this speech.

People who have matriculated in GEL credited the program in helping them learn effective strategies to ‘collaborate with businesses in China,” and offering a “unique cross-cultural experience to prepare future global business leaders.” One young alumnus who is third generation family business leader said the program allowed her to make 20 global connections and it further gave her the fundamental knowledge needed to do business in China.

Steven C. Rockefeller III is one of the many speakers that speak to GEL students. He is a descendent of John D. Rockefeller Senior, one of the world’s most widely celebrated entrepreneurs. The Rockefeller family has earned fame and appreciation for generations as a result of their business accomplishments, as well as their countless contribution to academia, environmental conservation, philanthropy, and to American and international politics.

Steven Rockefeller said during his talk that his family recognized China’s significance more than a hundred years ago and began establishing ties with the country long before China re-emerged as a global power.

“My family has a long history in China, I’m proud that my ancestors worked to build bridges between our countries,” He said.

The legacy that Mr. Rockefeller represented – being from a highly regarded enterprising family – made his comments and insight highly anticipated by GEL alumni and 2017 participants.

“My family’s relationship with China has given me so much,” he said.

He went on to explain that John D. Rockefeller Junior made a storied journey to China. “It took him nearly a month to reach China, this is before there was China Air,” Steven Rockefeller quipped.

In the business arena, Rockefellers introduced kerosene oil lamps to China, as a means to grow demand for the kerosene oil that the family’s business sold; and in the arena of philanthropy, the Rockefeller family through the Rockefeller Foundation helped to bring and expand western medicine in China.

The legacy of the family began with the founding of Standard Oil Company by John D. Rockefeller Senior. The family business expanded into banking, in particular, the Rockefellers’ association with Chase Manhattan Bank; and real estate, including such landmarks as Rockefeller Center. Today, there are scores of companies, foundations as well as universities and colleges that are either successors to Standard Oil or were launched by the Rockefeller family members.

Steven Rockefeller currently serves with Cushman & Wakefield. He has served as Managing Partner and Board Member of Rose Rock Group, a real estate investment management and development. He helped to expand the firm’s global presence, including leading initiatives in China and India, such as a landmark project in Yujiapu in Tianjin.

His resume also includes launching and serving as Managing Partner at Arete Development Partners; and having served as the Treasurer of the Rockefeller Family Office.

Mary Wadsworth Darby, Chief Representative of CKGSB-Americas, said: “The accomplishments of our Global Emerging Leaders alumni and the enthusiasm of our students provide great reason to be proud of the GEL program. Our partnership with Cornell and our success in attracting great entrepreneurs as speakers has produced a very well-received curriculum.”

Understand China from the inside

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter today!

Understand China from the inside

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter today!