The unique natural experiment of the fall of the iron curtain led to large institutional and governance differences across countries. This allows us to observe the evolution of ownership and control after an initial shock.We utilize this cross-time/cross-country variation in institutions and privatization methods to analyze the determinants and effects of individual investor control in a large sample of firms in 11 CEE countries over the period 2000-2007. Controlling for possible endogeneity and firm effects, we find that large individual investors add value to the firms they control. They do so predominantly compared to state controlled firms but also compared to other privately controlled firms. If large individual investor firms employ professional managers and (only) supervise them actively, they achieve the better performance improvements in Tobin's q than the firms managed by their controlling shareholders. Concerning the determinants of ownership, large individual shareholders substitute for missing good country governance institutions, and ownership is very sticky, since initial conditions (privatization methods) still matter. It appears that secondary markets do not converge on the same ownership equilibria as primary markets do.