Executive Speakers

Steve Miller, PhD

Former Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee &
Executive Vice President

The Biltmore Company

Steve Miller

Steve served as the top nonfamily executive for The Biltmore Company in Asheville, NC. During his 35-year career with the company, Steve played a key leadership role in building Biltmore, owned by members of the Vanderbilt/Cecil family, into the most visited historic home in the United States, with over one million visitors each year. Steve took early retirement from The Biltmore Company in 2011 to further pursue his personal mission of working with family business leaders to help them develop world-class, sustainable family enterprises to serve their customers, employees, families, and communities. He is the founder and president of GenSpan, Inc., a consulting business for family-owned enterprises, and continues to consult with Biltmore. Steve’s approach to family business leadership is to create and employ strategies that align business, family, and ownership goals. Legal, tax, accounting, wealth management, and other professionals who advise family businesses provide excellent counsel from the perspective of their own discipline. What is often needed is deep thinking and comprehensive planning to put all the pieces together in ways that enhance operating business performance, family relationships, and wealth creation. Steve’s areas of expertise include business strategy, leadership development, marketing, succession planning, governance, and the ability to see the big picture.

Steve currently serves on the board of Asheville Savings Bank; and as board chair for Draper and Kramer, a fourth-generation family-owned real estate development and management firm headquartered in Chicago. He is past chair of the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, Mission Hospitals, the North Carolina Travel and Tourism Board, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, and the Deacon Body at First Baptist Church of Asheville. He has also served as president of the Travel Council of North Carolina, vice chairman of the North Carolina Travel and Tourism Coalition, and vice president of the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Steve graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he now serves as an adjunct professor of organizational behavior and is co-founder of the Family Enterprise Center at the Kenan-Flagler Business School. He received his PhD in management from Case Western Reserve University and completed UNC’s Executive Program and Harvard’s Advanced Management Program. Steve’s research is focused on the development of next-generation leadership talent in family enterprises.

Steve is happily married to Deborah L. Miller, has two grown daughters, Stephanie and Michelle, and one fabulous grandson, Henry Christopher. He is an avid golfer, investor, and student of family business.


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