Walid S. Chiniara is an international finance lawyer, an activist, and a pioneer in the area of governance for family-controlled businesses.
After 15 exciting years practicing law across several jurisdictions, Walid spent the last 25 years serving families in business, looking to preserve and grow their Wealth in the hands of future generations.
He worked alongside a large number of iconic families from around the world, building family offices, managing conflict, and devising family-specific tools, tailored to address their needs and those of the NextGen family business entrepreneurs.
Over the years, he forged himself a reputation as the go-to person for mission impossible family business succession planning, and the 7-Step Methodology™ he has developed has been recognized by his peers as a game changer. For many, it has become the family business succession planning tool par excellence.
In 2020, he was recognized by Family Capital Publishing as one of The Top 100 Global Family Influencers, and in 2021, he received the most flattering accolade from his peers (Who’s Who, Private Client and Trust Advisory Services 2021) who are reported saying: the “phenomenal” Walid Chiniara is “best in class” and “a reference in the market”.
Professional Trajectory – Key Dates
Walid was sworn in as a lawyer in 1981 and has since lived and practiced in many cities. He has elected domicile in Dubai and spends time between Beirut, Paris, and Montreal.
Walid first joined Sidley & Austin in Chicago in 1982 and later moved to Montreal to join Stikeman, Elliott.
In 1991, he joined Alcatel CIT, Paris, the then largest telecommunications manufacturing company in the word, where he became Deputy General Counsel and contributed to setting up its project financing arm across Eastern Europe and South-East Asia.
In 1998, his professional life took a different turn, when he was invited to become Consigliere for one of the most prominent and successful NextGen family business entrepreneurs in the Middle East. During his tenure, he built his first single-family office and discovered the importance of family business dynamics and the impact institutionalized family businesses can have on the prosperity and stability of the economy.
In 2001, he established his own virtual multi-family office, and has since worked alongside over 160 families in business, looking to become more competitive in a global and increasingly unstable world.
He still acts as a Personne de Confiance to a number of them.
In 2014, Walid joined Deloitte to set up and lead the Middle Eastern chapter of its Family Enterprise Consulting practice and help build its global family office platform. He retired in 2022, having contributed to making Deloitte the No. 1 family business consultancy firm in the Middle East (according to consultancy-me.com).
Today, he is busy focusing on the future.
Walid is credited with the development of the 7-Step Methodology™, a tried and tested innovative and systemic approach to family business succession planning, that served him and his families well over the years.
He shared his experience in a book published in May 2020 and titled Dynastic planning: a 7-Step Approach to Family Business Succession Planning and Related Conflict Management.
Upon moving to Dubai, in 2005, Walid was invited to join the legislative committee at the Dubai International Financial Center and participated in the elaboration of a number of laws and regulations, including the DIFC Trust Law and the Single Family Office Regulations.
In 2019 and 2020, he was called upon to collaborate with the Family Business Center at the Diwan, Sultanate of Oman and the National Center for Family Business, at the Chamber of Commerce, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to help modernize current legislation to support the growth of family-controlled businesses.
Walid is a graduate of Saint Joseph University (USJ), Beirut, Lebanon and of New York University (NYU), New York, where he earned a Bachelor of Laws, and a Masters in Comparative Jurisprudence, respectively.
He is an accredited Mediator and a member of the Quebec Bar. He is also, a member of the Family Firm Institute (FFI), the Society of Trust and Estate Planners (STEP), and The International Academy of Trust and Estate Law (TIAETL).
Walid is a published author and a regular guest speaker at a number of regional and international forums, and once a year, he facilitates the Family Governance Module, Cercle des Dirigeants, at École Supérieure des Affaires, Beirut. He also contributes to The Henley Family Office Program, Henley Business School, University of Reading, United Kingdom.
Walid is a husband and a father of two.