Aalto University establishes a unique professorship in ownership

The professorship, established with donated funds, promotes high-quality academic research and teaching as well as Finnish ownership expertise and the culture of ownership.
Kuvassa näkyy Aalto-yliopiston kauppakorkeakoulu talvella dronella kuvattuna. Kuvan otti Roope Kiviranta Aalto-yliopistosta.
Aalto University School of Business in Otaniemi, Finland. Photo: Roope Kiviranta / Aalto University.

A unique professorship in ownership is being established at Aalto University. The endowed professorship, established with donated funds, will be placed in the School of Business. The new professorship adds ownership as an integral part of academic research and teaching, strengthens Finnish ownership expertise and the culture of ownership, and produces high-quality research data to support societal discussion and decision-making.

Ownership is an integral part of the market economy, and the significance of understanding it is emphasised by the international mobility of capital. The digitalisation of the economy also increases the potential role of different ownership forms.

According to Timo Korkeamäki, Dean of the School of Business, the new professorship will play a key role in producing academic research related to ownership and also popularizing it to support societal debate and decision-making.

‘There is surprisingly little top-level research on how ownership impacts the operations and success of companies as employers, taxpayers and engines of growth. The new professorship fills this gap and also serves as a pioneer in research and teaching related to the theme of ownership in Aalto's internal networks as well as national and international networks’, Korkeamäki explains.

Unique professorship

The original idea for the professorship came from Tero Luoma, who has written a book on ownership. Together with Lari Raitavuo, one of the owners of Ensto Invest, they set out to find supporters for the professorship.

The new professorship will be established with donations from several organisations, foundations, companies and individuals. All of the following have already supported the professorship with donations: the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Fund, the Saastamoinen Foundation, the Finnish Foundation for Share Promotion, Family Business Network, the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK, Oras Invest, Ensto Invest and Foundation for Private Entrepreneurs.
More information on donations and an updated list of donors can be found here 

A steering group was established for the professorship project, with members from the Family Business Network, the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK, the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, the Finnish Foundation for Share Promotion, the Finnish Venture Capital Association and the Finnish Business Angels Network FiBAN.

‘So far, there has been no professorship in ownership in the world and we wanted one to be established in Finland. The professorship is a permanent investment in Finnish ownership expertise that will span generations. In the steering group, we compared seven Finnish universities for the best location for the professorship. Aalto stood out for their ambition, internationality and ability to integrate the professorship extensively into other teaching and research’, says Tero Luoma.

According to Lari Raitavuo, the new professorship will give future owners a better chance to learn about ownership and grow as owners.

‘As a young family business owner, I want to keep developing into a better owner. Knowledge based on research data and the best international practices brings important expertise to a practical level.’

Support ownership expertise with a donation

At Aalto University, endowed professorships have traditionally been established with donations from foundations, companies and associations. Now, also individuals can support the professorship and the expertise hub to be built around it by donating to the professor of ownership at the School of Business.

‘Supporting the expertise in this important field in Finland can now be made with bigger and smaller donations’, Timo Korkeamäki says.

According to Ilkka Niemelä, the president of Aalto University, the professor in ownership is extremely important.

‘Ownership plays an important role in employment, tax and export revenue and the well-being of society as a whole. That's why it's wonderful that Finland will have the first professorship focusing on research and teaching in this field. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the initiators and donors of the professorship.’  

Donations secure the basic funding of the new full-time professorship in ownership for a period of 20 years. The process of recruiting the professor has already started, and the plan is to have the new professor start their duties by early 2022 at the latest.

Donors' thoughts about ownership

Jenny and Antti Wihuri has aupported the professorship with a significant gift, and according to its Executive Director Arto Mäenmaa, it is significant for our everyday lives who the owners of the companies are.

'As a foundation with an entrepreneurial mindset and with a deep interest in societal well-being we believe that a board understanding of the societal impact of ownership is extremely important', Mäenmaa says.

 Jyri Häkämies, CEO of the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK, says in turn that the importance of and the respect for entrepreneurship have strengthened significantly, but that the same does not apply to ownership.  

‘The importance of owners as catapults for creating and strengthening businesses needs actions and that is why EK participates in the establishing of the professorship as a donor. We believe that the professorship generates a wider understanding of ownership in the society and leads to decisions that advance Finnish ownership’, concludes Häkämies.

According to Sari Lounasmeri, CEO of the Finnish Foundation for Share Promotion, everyone in Finland can be an owner.

‘Finland is on its way of becoming a broad-based ownership society, in which everyone can be an owner of a listed company. Ownership generates wealth and impact. Supporting ownership reflects the Finnish ownership - everyone can contribute with a small amount and together we small can do something big’, says Lounasmeri.

‘Openings of this kind are vital to Finland during these difficult times. They bring hope for the future’, Petteri Karttunen, the Chairman of the Board of the Saastamoinen foundation sums up.

More information:

Dean Timo Korkeamäki, Aalto University School of Business
[email protected]
+358 40 483 4060

Most likely reachable on Monday 8 February 2021 from 8:30 to 9:30 am and from 11 am to 12 noon.

Chairman of the steering group Tero Luoma
[email protected]
+358 50 344 9993

For more information regarding donations:

Helena Salminen, Donor Engagement Manager
[email protected]
+358 50 475 7108

Read more about donating and donate to the professorship in ownership:

People and public artwork Donors' Wall at the School of Business.

Endowed professorship in ownership

Aalto University has established a unique professorship in ownership.

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